05 Water, Sewage, Plumbing Systems
While not marked very often on inspections this section is still of critical importance to food safety. If there is an issue with the water supply or plumbing system it could mean that hands and/or dishes are not being washed or that sewage is backing up onto the floors or into equipment. Though these issues are rare, their impact on food safety can be great if they are not monitored closely.
05a- Safe Water Source
Safe water source should not be an issue for restaurants in the City of Aspen as they are all hooked up to municipal water. This item can be an issue for a restaurant that uses well water for their supply. The source must meet testing requirements for bacterial contamination and chlorine content which are taken care of by the City Water Department for our restaurants here. 05a can be an issue at special events where food service vendors may bring in their own water for the event in containers that are not approved for drinking water. This section also covers the misters in the produce sections of grocery stores. These systems must be maintained properly so bacteria don’t start to build up in the lines. If you are on a well, be sure to have it tested often to make sure your water is safe too.
05b- Hot and Cold Water Under Pressure
It is absolutely crucial that restaurants are in compliance with this section. Failure to meet this requirement is grounds for immediate closure. Without running water the facility is not able to wash and sanitize dishes and even more importantly, employees are not able to wash their hands. Less severe instances of this section could be a broken hot water valve at a single hand sink faucet. Employees could still wash their hands in the kitchen; they just have to make more of an effort to do it. An undersized hot water heater that does not meet the needs of the facility during peak operations would also be a violation that falls under 05b.
05c- Backflow, Backsiphonage
Backflow and backsiphonage devices are designed to keep contaminated waste water and sewage in their proper place and away from areas where they could cause sickness or harm. For example produce washing sinks are required to have an air gap in their drain line. This “break” in the line keeps a sewer back up from contaminating the sink by allowing the backup to flow out of the air gap onto the floor instead up the drain pipe and into the sink. Without backflow prevention, a sewer backup in the middle of the night might go unnoticed and the next day a restaurant could be washing produce in raw sewage, right inside their produce washing sink. These devices are also used to keep any contamination from the restaurant out of the clean water supply. An example of how this could happen is a hose connected to a faucet that is sitting in a sink full of dirty dish water. If there is a sudden drop in pressure in the water main, the dirty water from the sink could be siphoned up the hose and back into the water supply line. For this reason use of a hose on a faucet requires a backsiphonage prevention device. There are simple devices that can be attached directly to the faucet or hose bib that create an effective backflow prevention barrier. Ask a professional plumber which device will meet your needs.
05d- Sewage Disposal
This is similar to 05a in the sense that it doesn’t often come into play for restaurants in the city since they are on municipal sewer. A septic system that is not functioning properly would fall under 05d. This section would apply to a facility that uses on site sewage disposal such as a leach field. One thing we do see from time to time that fits under this section is a lack of restrooms for staff or patrons or toilets that are broken and not useable. Without proper sewage disposal, sewage can wind up in a number of dangerous places.
Please contact Rachel Burmeister at 970-920-5075 with any food safety or restaurant related questions.