Compiled by Castine Bernardy and James P. Malley Jr., Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire
Editor’s Note: Owners and operators of UV technology are an important stakeholder group; these professionals have limited time and often prefer to remain anonymous when providing feedback. As a result, UV Solutions now builds this column from responses to a Qualtrics survey sent out each quarter with the help of UNH graduate students.
If you are an owner or operator of UV technology interested in providing feedback to these quarterly surveys, please email [email protected]. It is important that the survey expands beyond its current regional reach to provide more diverse and valuable information.
As the IUVA has grown, the stakeholder groups have become more diverse – moving from primarily drinking water, to One Water, Food and Beverage, Healthcare and now, more generally, air and surface applications for disease prevention. Therefore, this month’s Qualtrics survey asked two general questions and was sent to the broadest array of UV application owners/operators to date. The survey received an adequate response rate of 38%, although most responses are from the eastern and northeastern US. More regional diversity would add value to users of these responses.
For what do you use UV technology, and how was UV technology selected?
Six wastewater treatment facilities responded that UV disinfection was selected for effluent treatment to meet permit levels. In each case, the choice of UV disinfection was made by the city during the design process with minimal input from operations but met the needs of the project and eliminated the need for chemicals, which was appealing to the citizens.
Five drinking water treatment facilities responded that UV disinfection was selected as another barrier for public health protection. Each mentioned it was not required by any specific regulation but offered piece of mind against Cryptosporidium oocysts. Three of the five indicated that UV was chosen by the city and not by the operators; one indicated that operator input was solicited and was favorable for UV; and the final responding facility indicated that operator input was solicited and was unfavorable toward UV since it seemed like it was not needed and would add one more thing that could possibly go wrong at the treatment plant.
Four healthcare facilities indicated that UV was chosen in response to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and then was used to help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and variants. Each facility indicated that the decision to add UV to the normal surface cleaning practices was a joint decision by the organization’s infection disease prevention staff, the management and the maintenance supervisor.
Five other responses were received from individual medical practices where, after talking with HVAC and UV equipment providers, the decision was made by the physician or dentist to add UV disinfection to HVAC systems following the existing filters to provide patients with peace of mind during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three restaurants responded to the survey. Each added UV to upper-room air based on internet searches and talking with local restaurant associations. In each case, the decision was made by the owner and there was no specifically designated operator.
Based upon your experience with UV equipment, what suggestions can be provided to improve its operation or maintenance?
Of the 23 respondents, only six provided comments on this question.
One wastewater facility indicated that the amount of time and attention needed by the UV system (in terms of cleaning) was much more than anticipated, and that multiple-lamp UV units should have wipers as standard and not optional. Three of the medical offices noted that an indicator that the system was producing disinfection and “not just pretty lights” would be very useful for owners assessing the worth of their investment.
Two restaurants indicated that their systems for surface disinfection could have been more convenient if the systems came with remote controls for turning them on and off, as well as an indicator light telling them when to replace bulbs. One likened the need to features which come standard on most new air conditioning units – a remote and a filter change indicator light.
Authors: Castine M. Bernardy, PhD Student, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03824 – email: [email protected]; James P. Malley, Jr., Ph.D., Editor-in-Chief, UV Solutions and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Durham, NH 03824 – email: [email protected]