Secondary Disinfection Options for the Hospital Water Supply Chain

Hospitals are meant to be havens of health and healing, but without a clean and sterile environment, that’s a difficult position to maintain. With Legionella bacteria, which cause Legionnaires disease, health organizations are looking into further treatment. Cities routinely add chlorine to the water supply as a primary disinfection measure. This may be sufficient for tap water, but for institutions like hospitals, secondary disinfection is desirable to help kill off difficult bacteria such as Legionella and Cryptosporidium.

Secondary Disinfection Options and Comparisons

ChlorineChlorine is an effective primary and secondary disinfection option as it neutralizes most pathogens. It occurs naturally as a gas, however is available in liquid solutions and solid mixtures for easier handling. The main drawback to chlorine is that it is toxic as a gas, corrosive as a liquid, and easily flammable or even explosive when exposed to certain materials as a solid. Cautious handling is necessary.

Chlorine Dioxide – Chlorine dioxide is a strong disinfectant, killing bacteria and fungi, and even counteracting viruses. Unlike plain chlorine, this option is effective against Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which can wreak havoc when present in the water supply. Chlorine dioxide can even be used against biological agents such as anthrax. Like chlorine, however, it is a dangerous compound and requires careful storage and transport. It decomposes in sunlight and is explosive under pressure.

MIOX MOS – The MIOX mixed oxidant solution for secondary disinfection is created by applying a direct electric current to salt. This makes it very safe for secondary disinfection. It is also highly effective at combating both common and uncommon pathogens. There have been numerous studies that confirm the solution’s success in disinfecting contaminated water. MIOX products are also listed by the U.S. EPA as a Compliance Technology and are certified by NSF International for Drinking Water System Components. MIOX is an excellent secondary disinfection option.

With the above information in mind, hospitals are better prepared to decide which secondary disinfection method is right for them. For those that already have measures in place, learning of other options can open the door for more effective and safer alternatives.


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