Case Study – Leak Detection in Medical Environments

Case Study – Leak Detection in Medical Environments

For patients requiring dialysis, any delay to treatment can have serious consequences. Without receiving treatment 3-4 times per week, the average life expectancy for a patient is between a few days and a few weeks, as toxins and waste products rapidly build up in the body. For this reason it is essential to take precautions against any potential disruption to the daily running of dialysis wards. This includes taking preventative action against dialysate and water waste leakage from medical units containing harmful toxins and bacteria. If a leak from the waste pipework were to occur, the hygiene breach would have the potential to close the entire ward.

Aquilar Ltd. specialises in leak detection solutions and has been enlisted, on a number of occasions, to assist hospitals in significantly reducing this risk. Typically, Aquilar focuses on two main areas within a ward; the water treatment room and the main dialysis room. In the water treatment room, any sediment is removed from the water, it is then softened and finally passed through a charcoal filter before reverse osmosis is used to purify it. Only then is it ready for use in the main dialysis room. Here Aquilar monitors for leaks using four AquiTron™ AT-Probe-TS units. These highly visible, orange units can be mounted onto the floor or wall and adjusted for height. In this particular scenario the four units are mounted around the filter systems and water tanks.

The main dialysis room generally includes several dialysis stations and additional self-care stations for patients who wish administer some, or all, of their own treatment. Here, Aquilar installs the TraceTek TT3000 sensor cable, which is used to detect spills and leaks of aqueous chemicals including wastewater, acids, bases and hazardous waste streams. The cable is strategically positioned inside the service/drainage channels, following the contours of the waste drainage pipework and providing maximum and instant monitoring for leaks. This prevents the build up of waste fluid that could result in widespread damage, foul smells and vermin/insect infestations.

Should the sensing cables prove impractical to install, either due to a harsh operating environment or due to the impracticality of installing lengths of sensor cables in vulnerable areas, detection probes can provide an alternative solution. The probes also allow the isolation of specific equipment or locations so that the leak can be identified immediately with extreme accuracy.

Although Aquilar’s products do not prevent leaks, they alert the medical staff within seconds of a leak occurring – the sensing cable is part of a modular system that can be linked to an alarm panel. For this application, Aquilar recommends the AT-MZA alarm panel as it allows for up to 8 different sensing zones and comes with a battery back-up unit, providing effective leak detection even in the event of a power cut. Its remote connection to speech and auto dialers, ensures that staff can be alerted to a leak even when out of hours, allowing the maintenance team to attend the unit as soon as possible to repair the affected area. If the alarm is not raised, the leak could continue undetected for a period of time, causing considerable damage and the potential closure of the ward.