Analysis and Reporting for Sulphate Reducing Bacteria in Closed Systems


The latest guidelines released by The British Standard BS 8552 ‘Sampling of water from building services closed systems’ suggests that the five day test for sulphate reducing bacteria currently offered is no longer considered appropriate and an alternative method would be more suitable.

As a result of the amendments to the guidelines ALS Environmental have amended our testing method accordingly. Our new method now references the “Standard Committee of Analysts (SCA); Microbiology of Drinking Water Part 12” test method, which is based on traditional microbiology liquid media as specified under the standard. The SCA is sponsored by the Environment Agency and is comprised of microbiology experts across the industry.

The significant impact for our customers is the change in turnaround time of the analysis from five days to 28 days. The British Standard states a minimum of 21 days incubation, however upon validation checks on the method it was confirmed that positives were still produced after a 28-day period at a frequency of 5%. This is likely due to additional Sulphate Reducing Bacteria spore growth and the changes to the method will have no impact on the price of the analysis.

The 28 day test consists of a capped glass tube, half filled with a selective microbiological culture medium and inoculated with 1ml or 1 gram of sample. Development of a black colouration indicates a positive result. Sulphate-reducing bacteria are expressed as detected or not detected in 1ml or 1g of sample.

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