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How UVC Disinfection Can Help Protect Food and Beverage Service Operations Before and After Boil-Water Advisories


By Klaran

Boil-water advisories are an instant headache for any commercial food service operation. The effect on beverage service can become the leading pain point for many operations long after the boil-water period. In these situations, UVC disinfection systems can help food service operations deliver microbially safe water and be assured that their service equipment is protected from damage or maintenance due to biofilm and microorganism growth.

During an active boil-water advisory, it is critical to follow all local health department and water utility guidelines regarding water use. Further, it is critical to have additional plans in place before and after notices as microbial contaminant risks can be expected outside of the advisory period.

Protection Before the Advisory

A boil-water advisory is posted when a known incident or microorganism has been identified, and then a food and beverage service provider must become aware of the notice to act properly. While the gap between an advisory being posted and a company’s response may range from a few minutes to a few hours, the situation within your water infrastructure started before the notice was announced. This means that microbial contamination may have been present in your water for days or weeks before the utility companies were able to identify the issue and notify the public. However, health departments hold food and beverage service providers responsible for protecting their customers from contaminated drinking water at all times.

Since there are numerous places where bacteria can be found in water infrastructure, it's important that businesses cover their bases.

Constant protection against this unknown period of microbial risk can seem daunting and expensive but it does not have to be. Food and beverage service providers can use point-of-use purification solutions instead of more costly point-of-entry purification systems. Point-of-use components with verified microbial reduction claims can be integrated directly before beverage equipment or incorporated by the OEM. Systems using UVC LEDs typically offer tens of thousands of liters of treatment over a flexible lifetime and, unlike UV lamp systems, do not warm the water (warming water can lead to microbial growth).

Protection After the Advisory

Once the advisory is lifted, the real work begins for food and beverage service providers. In accordance with local health department and equipment manufacturer guidelines, companies must flush all water and beverage lines, clean and sanitize equipment, and empty and replenish storage tanks.

After all of that work, however, stagnant pipes within our municipal and building water infrastructure hold plentiful opportunities for dangerous organisms to harbor and multiply, potentially finding their way back into a food and beverage establishment’s water service. This can result in unsafe water being served to customers, improper equipment operation, or equipment damage from unexpected biofilm growth.

For establishments using filtration cartridges with verified microbial reduction claims, those, along with any other filtration-based purification components would need to be replaced after a boil-water advisory. The unknown levels of contaminants during an advisory can rapidly degrade high capacity purification cartridges, which can lead to clogging or breaches that allow contaminated water to pass through the cartridge unnoticed.

Fortunately, point-of-use UVC disinfection systems are not susceptible to such replacement requirements after boil-water advisories because they are not prone to clogging or breaches. Point-of-use UVC LED purifiers provide the assurances of safe service and protected equipment. Moreover, in the absence of boil-water advisories, UVC LED purifiers offer reliable purification without affecting temperature, taste, or smell of the water.

The Klaran WR Series UVC LED Reactor and Klaran WD UVC LEDs, for example, are available for water professionals or equipment OEMs to deliver these solutions to their customers now, so food and beverage service providers can trust their water and get on with their business without additional maintenance requirements.