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Two cases of contaminated drinking water

What happened?

In the first incident, fresh water analysis carried out by a 3rd party indicated an increase in TVC (total viable count) of bacteria in the fresh water system of some vessels. Inspection of vessels’ fresh water tanks revealed that they were dirty and had not been cleaned or maintained for a long time.

In the second incident, a drinking water quality check was conducted in accordance with the office health assurance plan. Upon sending the water dispenser to a laboratory for an annual “water quality assurance test”, the test results showed a high level of bacteria in the water. The water purchasing process from the current supplier was stopped immediately.

Thorough cleaning of the water pumps and dispensers was arranged, and a new supplier of drinking water was approved.

What went wrong? What were the causes?

  • There was a recurring failure to inspect and maintain vessel fresh water tanks;
  • There was no regular or appropriate cleaning of water dispensers & hand pumps. The office water dispensers and water pumps have not been cleaned for a long time. This could have resulted in the contamination of the water and subsequent potential health problems for staff.
Mud in fresh water tank

Actions taken

  • Vessel fresh water tanks should be regularly inspected and cleaned;
  • Drinking water bottles should not be re-used;
  • Arranged for proper and scheduled cleaning of fresh water dispensing equipment.

Members may wish to refer to the following incident:

Safety Event

Published: 15 December 2017
Download: IMCA SF 31/17

Relevant life-saving rules:
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