Written by: Stuart Steele
At Flick we have adopted an Integrated Pest Management approach to the way we render our services. It’s a more ecologically and environmentally friendly model of commercial pest management.
The risk of pests is further a health risk to people, but the health risk is not solely restricted to pests, but also to other health risks caused by the drainage systems themselves along with gases contained within the waste of drains that is released back into one’s kitchen, not to mention the bacteria associated with drains.
Drain technology has not evolved much since the advent of modern plumbing, and with the rate of development and the size of buildings and shopping centres ever increasing in size is placing more stress on effective drainage. The rapid growth can have a negative effect with the quantities of waste being pushed through the pipes can cause too much stress on the pipes and cause countless blockages resulting in plumbers unblocking drains. With commercial kitchens washing away fat solids and food waste causes additional strain on a drainage system, as well as an attractant for certain pests such as cockroaches, drain fly and rodents to be attracted to these areas, along with the threat of the waste causing drain odours, I would say classifies as being high risk to ones health.
Drains are essentially reservoirs for microbes and bacteria to fester. Microbes in pipes and drains adhere to the surfaces as microbial biofilms, which creates a complex ecosystem of different microbes that are fed by organic and inorganic matter. This matter creates a complex mixture of toxic and non-toxic gases during the decay of household or industrial waste. Highly toxic components of sewer gas include ammonia, methane and hydrogen sulphide.
There are numerous risks associated with these gases and can lead to irritation of the respiratory tract, eye irritation, dizziness, nausea, headache and drowsiness as is the case with hydrogen sulphide. Hydrogen sulphide smells like rotten egg even at low levels but can lead to loss of consciousness at high levels. Methane, on the other hand, is very dangerous especially in confined spaces and can lead to suffocation due to methane depleting the available oxygen in a confined space.
Both hydrogen sulphide and methane are flammable and high explosive making them rather volatile.
HARMFUL BIOLOGICAL MATTER
In a hospital environment, drains act as a cradle to the emergence of bacteria that are equipped with the ability to resist multiple antibiotics, due to their high rate of resistance to antibiotics. The resistance is probably caused by hospitals flushing down more bacteria and antibiotics down their drainage systems due to the very nature of hospitals constantly caring and treating patients with various strains of antibiotics.
In buildings where drains are not properly maintained, have the potential to spread more resistant bacteria. Numerous studies have been done on the importance of physical barriers between drainage systems and the surrounding areas. This can be demonstrated by looking at the history of known cases of SARS outbreaks (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) that broke out in 2002 and cases were reported up to 2012 with over 774 deaths as a result. It is thus vital to ensure that drainage systems must be kept intact and tight where opening have physical barriers, including keeping pests out. Read more about SARS here courtesy of CNN .
1. Effective drain maintenance needs to be done on drains ensuring blockages do not occur and drains do not overflow. The same can occur in reverse where there is not enough water in a drainage system, and one can end up with a dry trap- this is caused when the airflow moves in the reverse direction instead of going down the drain, it moves up into the work area resulting in the spread of germs.
2. Keeping pests out – This is achieved by stopping leaks, effective drain maintenance as mentioned above, ensuring your pipes are intact, ensuring all drain grids are firmly in place and have a cover to prevent rodent entry from the outside. Ensure cracks and crevices are sealed, grouting is in place to eliminate any harbourage point for potential pests. When there is a drainage system with too little water in it, this creates a pest harbourage point. Unused pipes need to be capped and sealed off or removed as this creates a direct runway for pests to enter from outside.
3. Green Drain Solution – This ingenious drain solution is not only a “Green” initiative, it’s a product we can offer that operates by creating an effective one way drain valve that simply and effectively eliminates drain odour, sewer gas infiltration & any harmful biological aerosols, along with preventing pests entry including flies, cockroaches and rodents. It makes use of tight one-way drain valve which does not impair flow rate, does not impair plumbing maintenance and has a universal plumbing code certification. It is GREEN Technology and importantly it improves indoor air quality.