The weather reached over 90 degrees this past weekend and just about everyone fortunate enough was able to spend it in a lake or a pool. Water quality has been headlining the news over the past year regarding proper testing and whether it's safe to drink. Every summer, parks are also in the news - emphasizing the importance of monitoring water quality to ensure that beaches are safe for swimming.
Water quality is critical with most uses. During surgical instrument reprocessing, it's important to test the water quality because it is key to the performance of chemical cleaning agents. In particular, hard water binds up detergent molecules, preventing them from breaking down the contaminants. Further, these molecules are often a source of staining and pitting of surgical instruments. Enzymes used in enzymatic detergent are highly influenced by the pH level of water. An improper pH level can lead to the partial or complete inactivation of the enzymes relied upon to breakdown the soil on instruments. Total alkalinity measures the amount of alkaline buffers in water. These alkaline substances buffer the water against sudden changes in pH. Total alkalinity is the key to maintaining water balance.
Be sure your department has regular testing in place to be sure you are cleaning instruments with optimal water quality.