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What is microbiological contamination?

Microbiological contamination occurs when more microorganisms are detected in the (process) water or on surfaces than desired or permitted. These microorganisms, consisting of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses, can have a negative impact on human and animal health and/or on the shelf life of your products. Examples of what we frequently encounter in the latter case are that packages may bulge, unpleasant odors may develop or there may be taste abnormalities.

How can microbiological contamination be detected?

Depending on where you suspect contamination is occurring, samples can be taken. This can be in the form of water samples if it is process water or swabs if it is surfaces. Often surfaces are contaminated by the water with which they are rinsed or cleaned. In the water pipe, biofilm forms, a collaboration of microorganisms that in addition to contamination, can also cause blockages and corrosion, for example.

Microbiological hazards in the HACCP

The nutrition center defines a HACCP as follows: HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. When food is processed, things can go wrong, compromising the safety of our food. Companies that produce or process food must describe potential risks in a food safety plan. This is an HACCP plan. All food processors are required to prepare an HACCP plan. HACCP is governed by European legislation.

Those "hazards" are divided into chemical, physical and microbiological hazards:

  • Microbiological hazards: bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites.
  • Chemical hazards, or pollutants: dioxins, heavy metals, mold toxins, pesticide residues, and so on.
  • Physical hazards: glass, bone particles, sharp metal or wood particles, and so on.

Watter gives you the ability to automatically control your microbiological hazards from the water with the Watter system. Want to know more? Then contact us!

Need advice?

Watter's microbiologists can help you do microbiological research. Ask for the possibilities

How can microbiological contamination be dealt with?

Microorganisms are living things. To kill them, you need a biocide (bio = life, cide = destruction). The Ctgb defines biocides as substances or mixtures that:

  • Contain or generate one or more active substances,
  • And are intended to destroy, repel, render harmless or prevent harmful or unwanted organisms ranging from bacteria and viruses to fungi or rats.

Biocides are divided into 22 product types. These include, for example, wood preservatives, anti-fouling paints, disinfectants and insecticides. (source)

In the case of microbiological contamination, you need a disinfectant that is thus approved according to the Ctgb for the specific application for which you wish to use it (product type). For surfaces this is PT2, in the field of water systems it is PT4.

How to choose the right disinfectant?

Once the microbiological contamination has been identified, you can start working on a disinfection plan and selecting the right disinfectant. There is a wide variety of products and brands available on the market. What you should pay close attention to is the effectiveness of the product toward the type of microorganism you wish to deal with. Some agents are highly effective against bacteria, but create a fine environment for fungi in the case of acids, for example. You must also pay close attention to the dosage allowed and whether this will allow you to achieve sufficient reduction to prevent contamination.

It is important to know that most disinfectants are on the hazardous substances list. This means that they are harmful to humans, animals and/or the environment on direct contact. If you want to use one of these CMR substances, there are obligations attached. You must include their use and all related measures in your RI&E. Both the Dutch Labour Inspectorate and the ILT and NVWA monitor the use of hazardous substances strictly. On the website you can see the steps you need to take to introduce the use of CMR substances into your company as safely as possible, broadly speaking these are:

  • Inventory and assess all substances
  • Take the right measures
  • Ensure proper safeguards

The ideal situation: no CMR substances, but effective disinfection

Watter offers you the perfect solution for sustainable, effective disinfection, without the use of CMR substances and the associated administration and investment. With our disinfection solution, we provide continuous control of microbiological contamination in your water pipes, so you can be sure that the biofilm in your water pipes cannot grow back. And because the agent used is produced and automatically dosed on your premises, you have nothing to worry about.
The advantages at a glance:

  • No CMR substance, friendly to humans, animals and the environment.
  • Sustainably produced from water, salt and electricity
  • No more storage of hazardous chemicals because you produce how much you need yourself
  • Effective disinfection without residues such as chlorate


Ask us about the possibilities

Want to know more about this unique way of disinfection? Then contact our specialists.