In-house water testing lab an industry first

Our microbiology lab is the first of its kind in our industry. Bringing water quality testing in-house has reduced testing time by half, resulting in quicker, more accurate results.

Water testing is one of our stringent quality control procedures

Borg & Overström water dispensers are manufactured in the UK and subjected to in-house quality controls. Regular, routine water testing is one of these measures, which also includes manual checks and pressure testing.

“Every week we take a random finished dispenser for water testing, immediately before dispatch,” says David Hyland, Lab Technician at Borg & Overström. “We also test the mains water supply coming into the lab every other week.”

Prior to building the in-house lab, water samples from these checks were sent to a third-party lab. It could take up to a week to receive certification, from sending the samples to receiving the results. Bringing testing in-house has reduced this time to three days.

“Reducing transit times is one advantage of bringing the lab in-house,” adds David. “It also means that the results are more accurate. After taking a water sample there is a 24-hour deterioration on the samples. With the lab we can have the samples in the incubator within 30 mins.”

Testing for indicator organisms

What David is testing for are indicator organisms. These are bacteria commonly found in the environment, the human or animal gut and which, if detected, may suggest the presence of sewage or other contamination.

While all water contains some bacteria it only becomes a concern when certain types of bacteria, called pathogens, are allowed to grow. These are bacterium, viruses, or microorganisms that cause disease and can become present in water sources that are inadequately maintained, or contaminated.

When indicator organisms such as non-specific coliforms, E-coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa levels exceed pre-set triggers, specific investigations and analysis of pathogens may be carried out.

“We currently carry out one routine test in-house for Pseudomonas and two routine tests for TVC ‘Total Viable Count’,” says David. “One at 22 degrees for 72 hours and one at 37 degrees for 48 hours. We put the samples in to incubate at two different temperatures so any bacteria present replicates. Going forward we will also be able to test for E-coli and coliforms.”

Investigations and ongoing R&D

When needed the lab can also be set up for specific investigation projects. These are essentially the same as routine monitoring but designed to identify the root cause of a problem.

“If a specific issue is found we set the dispensers up in the lab. Each day we flush the lines through the dispense options to replicate normal operation,” explains David. “Taking regular water samples enables us to identify the root cause and a solution. We continue testing over weeks and then months to ensure that the process we have designed is working in practice.”

Continual innovation is at the heart of our business. Having the lab in-house means we can not only fix problems if they occur, but also refine and improve existing products and develop new innovations.

You can find out more about how we maintain exceptional levels of hygiene on our innovations page.

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