I've scoured the website looking for answers to some of my questions, but need to figure out how to put this all together.
Recently, I found out that we were using well water as a major source for our incoming water. We have city water, but apparently it's not enough to keep up with production. I wasn't informed of this until we did water testing and I was baffled as to why HPC/APC counts were high on our water tests.
Based on what I have read, a great many of you out there aren't actually testing HPC/APC frequently on your water testing. Most of you are focused on E.coli and Coliforms; which is fine, and we test for those as well. Those counts remain in specification (thankfully). Does anyone really test for HPC in their water? If so, what are your baselines? We've always been <100 on this count, so we have used it as a baseline for nearly 10 years. The reason why we use it is because we have many finished products that are micro tested, and we want to make sure that our source water isn't contaminating our finished product.
Secondly, we attempted to shock our water tanks over a weekend not too long ago using 100ppm chlorine, letting it sit for several hours, and then flushing out the entire system. At the time, we thought our tanks were the culprits (they were partly), and HPC results were better after the testing but still well over our baseline. We tested the source water at the well and it was good. The source water coming into the line to the building however, is bad. Therefore, there is some sort of contamination point after the well, and before the tanks.
We have UV lights on both tanks, and a UV light for the incoming water. We had a professional in the water industry come in, and they thought we should put a couple more UV lights on the incoming side (because we're using the water faster than the UV lights can treat it), and a couple UV lights on the outgoing side to our lines so that we can treat the water going to be used for production.
Apparently, we're not going to go the route of using UV lights. We've been told to actually shock the source water from the well, but that's not a route I would want to go. We don't know the water level, and we would need to know the exact water level at the time of shocking in order to know the amount to add. No commitment has been made to bring someone in to check the water level, so I'm stuck.
I know there isn't exactly a regulation for HPC amounts in water as it is not considered hazardous, but my concerns are that our counts are higher than our baseline and higher than any levels I've seen from results in the last 10 years. Also, just because HPC in itself doesn't mean we are going to have micro issues, it does strengthen the possibility (and we have seen some higher than normal counts in some areas).
Should we remove HPC as a target specification for water and hope the best for our micro tested products? We make low risk products, but still need to meet specifications. Shocking our tanks every quarter really won't mean a lot either, as conditions do change and we're just putting out an immediate fire instead of preventing it at that point.