Biofilm Control

Presence of the Legionella organism in water systems can often be associated with the presence of biofilm.  Biofilm is a sticky substance which forms under the right conditions, often appearing as slime.  It attaches to piping and component surfaces, and provides the ideal environment for a community of organisms, including Legionella, to live and thrive.  Therefore, controlling biofilm is an integral part of controlling Legionella, and its removal is essential to achieving a proper state of water system cleanliness.  Biofilm control should be part of every Water Management plan.

Many have wondered whether conventional oxidizing treatments are capable of successfully eradicating biofilm on their own.  Chlorine for example, will only burn away surface layers of biofilm.   In the process it is readily consumed, and often requires very high concentrations to have any productive effect.  It is very corrosive even at low levels, and much more aggressive at elevated concentrations.  Chlorine alone lacks the punch necessary to penetrate and break apart a slime matrix.   Because of these limitations, when heavy biofilm is confirmed, we act to augment conventional chemical cleaning protocols with a separate dose of Chlorine Dioxide.  As a gas in water, Chlorine Dioxide is fully capable penetrating biofilms, breaking and sloughing them into the bulk water for their removal by mechanical means and for the parallel disinfection of those released active micro-organisms.  Chlorine Dioxide is a weak oxidizer that is not corrosive, and is not affected by pH conditions.  The key to using the tool is to produce it safely, conveniently, and to have it readily available when test results warrant.

The Metro team has an integrated set of solutions to deal with all water system challenges, including the use of this very effective tool against biofilm.  When you have a tough challenge, be sure to ask about chlorine dioxide supported cleaning platforms.

Written by:

John D. Caloritis, CWT, Technology Director The Metro Group, Inc.

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