Wastewater treatment plant

Specifying safety showers at wastewater treatment plants

Wastewater treatment plant

Ensuring that communities and businesses have access to safe, clean water each day is a top priority for the water and wastewater sector. From drinking water to crop irrigation to support the food supply, properly treated wastewater is essential to prevent disease and protect the environment. In the US, water consumption is more than double that in Central Europe, so it’s no surprise that American Water alone employs a 6,000-strong workforce serving approximately 14 million customers across the USA and Canada.

This vital workforce is often exposed to remote and demanding environments along with a range of hazardous chemicals used in the water treatment process. Chlorine and chloramine are the major disinfectants used in public water systems, as approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, to prevent disease-causing bacteria and viruses such as salmonella and norovirus. Various processes are used to achieve safe levels of chlorine in drinking water. However, chlorine in its natural form is toxic and highly corrosive. The liquefied gas can chill or freeze the skin upon contact, symptoms of this frostbite range from numbness, prickling, and itching through to a more severe burning sensation which can cause blistering and infection. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) recommends the use of safety goggles and protective clothing, as well as the provision of eye wash and safety shower facilities for contact or splash hazards.



According to ANSI standards, eye washes and safety showers must be positioned within 10 seconds reach of a hazard. All employees must be made aware of the location of this essential equipment and trained in how to use it correctly. For many chemicals, to ensure a thorough decontamination, flushing of the affected area should continue for at least 15 minutes with tepid water (16-38C). It is important to check the requirements of the relevant safety data sheet to ensure the correct procedure is followed in the event of an accidental splash or spill.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Importance of Tepid Water


Safety shower requirements will differ from site to site, although the necessity for stainless steel pipework and fittings is commonplace due to its corrosion-resistant properties. The remote nature of some wastewater treatment plants makes self-contained safety showers an ideal solution to provide safe potable water to a casualty.

The Hughes 2000 liter emergency tank shower with eye wash is the perfect “all-rounder”. Whatever the location, or climate, there is a model available to provide tepid water at a rate of 20 US gallons a minute for up to 15 minutes. The overhead tank stores 2000L (528 US Gallons) of water so can remain self-contained or can be plumbed into the main water supply.

During the colder seasons, the immersion heated model (MH14KS2000) will maintain the water temperature within the tank in the tepid range. In locations experiencing hot ambient temperatures, a range of cooling options are available for the jacketed model (J14KS2000) to ensure it also meets ANSI temperature standards.

The Hughes range has models suitable for all environments. An existing Hughes water utilities customer in the US needed a safety shower to place into a water treatment unit and opted for the 18GS45G, a stainless-steel drench shower with closed bowl eye wash. The durable, ABS eye wash is lidded to protect the bowl and diffusers from dirt and other pollutants. In the event of an emergency activation is quick and easy and can be made hands-free with the addition of an optional foot treadle.

Explore the full range of Hughes eye washes and safety showers.

Protecting the workforce should be at the forefront of every employer’s mind. To discuss your specific site requirements with the experts, contact Hughes today on (1) 866-312-1652 or via the online contact form.



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