Impact of Water Main Breaks on Hospitals and Care Facilities

It is important to upgrade the drinking water infrastructure and invest in efficient in-house water filtration and disinfection systems to ensure public health is protected.


Water infrastructure in North America is reaching a critical point, with water main break rates increasing by 27% from 2012 to 2018. A recent survey showed that large cities across the United States average 25 breaks for every 100 miles of water main per year, threatening public health and safety. These cracks and fractures create entry points for harmful bacteria and pathogens to contaminate the treated water. In this article, we will discuss the impact of water main breaks on hospitals and care facilities and the importance of having efficient in-house water treatment systems.

Cause of Water Main Breaks

The pipes used for water delivery in North America vary in age and material, making it difficult to pinpoint a single reason for their failure. The following factors contribute to the breakdown of pipelines:

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that replacing or refurbishing the aging drinking water pipelines will cost USD 312.6 billion and take 20 years. Unfortunately, the current approach to water main breaks is reactive, with repairs only being made after a break occurs. This slow process of discovery and restoration leaves thousands of people without water for extended periods.

Impact of Water Main Breaks on Hospitals and Care Facilities

The impact of water main breaks is amplified in regions that include hospitals and care facilities. Boil Water Advisory (BWA) notices have serious implications for these establishments. A National Infrastructure Advisory Council (NIAC) report estimated that healthcare capabilities are severely impacted within two hours of a water service interruption. The following activities are impacted by BWA notices:

• Water Consumption: Drinking fountains, food preparation, and other water consumption activities are affected.

• Essential Care: Handwashing, patient care, and other essential activities are impacted.

• Equipment Requirements: Reprocessing of medical equipment, fire suppression systems, water-cooled medical gas and suction compressors, heating and ventilation systems, and air conditioning are all affected.

• Sanitization Requirements: Toilets, bathing patients, laundry, medical specialties that use water (e.g., dialysis), decontamination and hazmat response, and other sanitization activities are impacted.

The Cost of Water Main Breaks on Hospitals and Care Facilities

Hospitals and care facilities are forced to spend significant resources in emergency water crisis situations, with elective surgeries being postponed, outpatients being redirected, and severely immunocompromised patients being relocated. In-house water filtration and disinfection systems are crucial in these facilities to ensure that the water is contaminant- and microbe-free, making it possible to avoid the cost and inconvenience of these situations.

Investing in In-House Water Treatment Systems

Investing in a robust in-house water treatment system is a crucial step for any healthcare facility instead of relying on water supplied by the local municipality. The superior efficacy of ultraviolet light in combating pathogenic waterborne microorganisms makes it a unique disinfection system, as it does not require a secondary disinfection step. When combined with a top-of-the-line filtration system, a UV disinfection system is one of the most important investments that any hospital and care facility can make to ensure the safety of its patients and staff.



The increasing rate of water main breaks in North America is a concerning issue that not only leads to the loss of drinking water but also poses a significant threat to public health. With aging pipelines, temperature fluctuations, corrosion, soil conditions, and other factors contributing to pipeline damage, it is imperative to upgrade the drinking water infrastructure of the country. Hospitals and care facilities are among the hardest hit during water main break incidents and are forced to go the extra mile to ensure that their water supply is contaminant- and microbe-free. This highlights the importance of efficient in-house water filtration and disinfection systems. UV disinfection systems, combined with top-of-the-line filtration systems, are a crucial investment for any hospital or care facility to make. By taking these measures, we can help ensure that public health remains protected and prevent the debilitating effects of water main breaks on our healthcare facilities.

Date 01/02/2023


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