When the Worcestershire Royal Hospital opened, it had been equipped with a Kinetico water treatment system to supply pure hot water to its theatre areas and to washer disinfector units used for cleaning and disinfecting medical devices.
In recent years, partly in response to concerns about the transmission of variant CJD via reusable surgical instruments; and also with regard to the risk associated with hospital acquired infections (HAI) in patients; the guidance relating to cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing has become more rigorous. This has affected the choices being made both in new builds and in many existing hospitals and other facilities involved in the supply of sterilized surgical instruments, which have been upgrading their cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing systems and procedures. Several are now using Kinetico systems or working with Kinetico to specify and supply systems to meet their individual and precise requirements.
The Kinetico system was designed and installed at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital to the specification of Oscar Faber consulting engineers and under the supervision of ABB Building Technologies, following a competitive tendering process. The scope of the project was to deliver an uninterruptible supply of pure water at 60°C and 80°C to a variety of outlets, starting from the mains water supply. To meet this need, water is processed in a number of stages.
Firstly, mains water passes through a Kinetico twin tank water softener to ensure a continuous supply of soft water. This softener features the Kinetico control valve, which measures all soft water used and only regenerates on demand to minimise the use of salt. In addition a “low salt level” alarm was fitted to the system as a further safeguard.
Softened water next passes through one of two Kinetico reverse osmosis (RO) units each of which feeds a 2,500 ltr storage tank. These RO units remove up to 99% of the remaining impurities, producing the required water quality of better than 30?s/cm. The RO storage tanks are arranged in parallel, with both in service. In addition the tanks have conical bottoms to eliminate dead spots and come with bacterial air vent filters and ultra-violet sterilizer on the overflows.
The two stainless steel multi-stage pumps used to distribute the RO water are operated in duty/standby with an 8 hour cycle time, and the two heat exchangers used to bring the water up to 60°C are also duty/standby. These heat exchangers each operate at 50% duty but are capable of running at 100% duty where necessary to maintain system integrity. Final bacterial and endotoxin control is via two 0.2 micron absolute filters.
Water is distributed via a ringmain made from CPVC operating at 60°C with pressure maintained at 6 bar via a control valve. However, to provide the three washer-disinfectors with 80°C RO water a spur provides water via two more steam heat exchangers, again with each operating at a precautionary 50% capacity.
Kinetico UK Ltd said of the new system: “The Worcestershire Royal Hospital water treatment system is state of the art and reflects a growing trend amongst our medical customers looking for the best quality water for their application.
“We already have a number of medical clients and are always happy to discuss individual requirements with those looking to update their systems.”