Ozone generators could eliminate airborne pathogens

E.C.T. is looking to ozone to lower the sick leave rate for offshore workers.

E.C.T. is looking to ozone to lower the sick leave rate for offshore workers. The Swedish company proposes installing ozone generators in offshore cabins to disinfect air, eliminating or reducing airborne pathogens, E.C.T. Offshore Manager Yvonne Putzig said. Disinfecting the air will go a long way toward stopping the offshore spread of infection, which can be rampant because of the small spaces and ventilation systems on offshore installations.

Operators and union officials have started looking into the generators because sick leave cost is quite high, Putzig said.

The ozone generators are compact and come equipped with a sensor that will prompt ozone generation. Corona discharge is the generator's method of producing ozone. The accuracy is 0.1 ppm ozone, ensuring correct ozone concentration.

Placing these ozone generators in cabins will have an additional effect, Putzig said, as they will decrease the need for emergency cleaning of moldy ventilation systems, which is another cause of illness. Mold in the ventilation systems is another cause of illness among offshore workers.

Now regulatory agencies are examining the use of the ozone generators in offshore installations.

E.C.T., better known for its drinking water treatment installations and drinking water training programs, is also looking into disinfectants for water to prevent the spread of Legionnaires' disease. The bacteria, which live in water, must be inhaled to pose a threat. Showers are one environment in which offshore workers may be exposed to the bacteria that causes the disease. E.C.T. is promoting chlorine dioxide as a far more effective method of killing bacteria than chlorine.

For more information, contact Yvonne Putzig, E.C.T. Offshore Service, Tel: +46 31 53 00 40, fax: +46 31 53 00 45, info@ectoffshore.se, www.ectoffshore.se.

Heidrun clean-up operation

Last fall, E.C.T. performed an emergency cleaning of the potable/gray water system for Statoil's Heidrun platform in the Norwegian Sea. Water coming from the taps was discolored and smelled of oil.

It emerged that crude had entered the potable water system through a connection coupling that was not protected by double non-return valves. Oil was everywhere in the potable water system except the tanks, and also in the gray water system. Workers were evacuated, and E.C.T. flushed the system with hot water before performing a chemical cleaning on the system to dissolve the oil. Subsequently, the Swedish company checked each tap to ensure the oil and all chemicals had been removed from the water distribution system. Following that, E.C.T. disinfected the potable water system. Analyses of the water after the cleaning procedure showed acceptable levels of hydrocarbons. The potable water system was restored to duty one week after the pollution occurred.

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