When the floodwater subsides... - Select Drinks Ltd

When the floodwater subsides…

February 19th, 2014 by Peter



Across the UK many homes and businesses are starting to clear up after the devasting effects of the recent floods. For businesses particularly, it’s important to follow specific guidelines before using both hot drinks and cold water machines, as they could be dangerous to your health of your staff if not re-commissioned properly.


Where there has been contamination of the mains water supply with potentially infectious material the local water supplier will indicate, via their website and the press, that it is unsafe to drink (with Boil Water or Do Not Drink notices). If this affects your business, it’s important that the service provider for your equipment carries out the following procedures, both at the time of the contamination and once the all-clear has been given.


When the room where the vending or water machine is located has been flooded, or the machine itself has been exposed to floodwater, it is unsafe to use, whether or not the water supply is affected. The machine needs to be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and serviced, including replacement of the inlet hose and filter, before it can be brought back into use, as detailed below.


If you have received notification that the water supply is unsafe without boiling (e.g. Cryptosporidium contamination), is unfit to drink (e.g. contains possible chemical and microbial contaminants) or has been disconnected, ensure that the water supply to the machine is turned off at the stop cock until a safe water supply is re-introduced. During the period where the water supply is unsafe and the vending machine is disconnected there will be the possibility for bacterial growth inside pipework and the stagnant water will need to be cleared before water is used for drinking.


If the supply has been cut off, for example due to flooding, once the treatment works is working again there will be a period where your water supplier will be preparing the system and checking to ensure that the water is safe to drink. In this eventuality it is recommended that the water only be used for flushing toilets and washing. It is important that vending machines are not reconnected until your water supplier is confident that water quality in all the mains system is back to normal and is safe to drink.


Once your water supplier confirms that the water is safe to drink the machine can be reconnected, once the following procedure has been followed;


  • Disconnect the machine, run the water from the stopcock into a bucket until it runs clear and cold, then run a further 5 litres.
  • Replace the in-line water filter (if fitted) with a new unit, irrespective of the date it is due to be changed.
  • If a plumbed-in water machine introduce sanitiser into the tank and pipework with a doser unit.
  • Drain the tank of the machine, whether hot or cold.
  • Flush the machine again with 10 litres of clean water.
  • Do not allow the machine to be used until the boiler has heated up to normal temperature for at least 5 minutes.


Select Drinks, and our network of fellow Cover members, all adhere to the Automatic Vending Association guidelines issued when dealing with flood water and the contamination from flooding. If you and your business have been affected, please don’t hesitate to contact us or your nearest Cover member for advice and assistance.


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  • Select Drinks Limited
  • Units 11-14 Angora Business Park
  • Peartree Road
  • Stanway
  • Colchester
  • Essex
  • CO3 0AB
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