SA Affordable Housing November / December 2021 - Page 7

ASSOCIATIONS

IOPSA-registered plumbers help deliver safe water and sanitation

By IOPSA
Plumbing plays a key role in the delivery of safe drinking water , as well as the handling and disposal of human and domestic wastes . Yet , there are still many homeowners and businesses that use the services of unqualified plumbers to repair and maintain existing or install new sanitary and stormwater drainage , as well as potable water systems .

This is despite the many health and safety risks that are associated with substandard plumbing workmanship .

So says BrendanReynolds , Executive Director of the Institute of Plumbing South Africa ( IOPSA ), the voice of the plumbing industry . IOPSA provides quick and easy access to skilled and experienced plumbers who are registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board ( PIRB ). These PIRBregistered plumbers are also regularly audited by IOPSA to ensure that they continue providing plumbing services of the highest possible quality .
“ In severe circumstances , a poor plumbing installation may even result in a serious injury or death . For example , an incorrectly installed ‘ geyser ’ or hot water storage vessel could explode and harm occupants inside a building . A faulty installation could also cause severe burns . Bear in mind that hot water of 60 ° C can result in a serious scald in about five seconds – the reason many burns involving children usually occur in the bathroom . The elderly and other vulnerable people are also at risk of suffering severe whole-body burns in a shower or bath due to substandard plumbing workmanship ,” Reynolds says .
A well-designed and correctly built plumbing system will also eliminate the risk of cross-connections between drinking water supplies and waste streams . This includes in public , industrial , and commercial properties where factors such as dual water systems , circulating pumps and toxic wastes need to be carefully managed . Cross-connections are also a potential problem in multi-storey buildings where booster pumps are used to increase main pressure . They are also a potential risk in unique plumbing systems deployed in hospitals , as well as dental and veterinary surgeries . However , cross-connections can also present a severe health and safety threat to occupants of houses and their neighbours . When the damaging effects of cross-connection are transferred to the mains supply system to which the plumbing is connected , they pose a risk to entire communities .
Supplying services at unsustainably low rates , many unqualified plumbers will also use inferior materials to install , repair and maintain plumbing systems . Lead , cyanide , arsenic , copper , manganese , and zinc can leach from these materials into potable water as it flows through the plumbing system . Consuming this contaminated water can lead to
ALL IMAGES : IOPSA
Brendan Reynolds , Executive Director of the Institute of Plumbing South Africa .
gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea and , in severe circumstances , brain damage and cancer . The use of inferior materials can also result in contaminated return flows from “ geysers ” or fixtures entering the water-supply system . They may also interact with other materials used in the plumbing system . In some instances , inappropriate and poor-quality materials even facilitate microbial growth in drinking water systems . Microbes can also grow in pipes and components of systems , including washers , thermostatic mixing valves and outlets , stagnation , and dead legs , when they are not
“ IOPSA provides quick and easy access to skilled and experienced plumbers who are registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board ( PIRB ).”
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