Operations that provide portable sanitation equipment for workers are meeting one of the major GAP requirements. Workers must have easy access to toilets and handwashing sinks so that they maintain the highest possible levels of sanitation and keep fields and orchards free from contaminants. However, compliance isn’t as simple as just making portable sinks and toilets available. Units must be kept clean and stocked with supplies at all times.
Because handwashing is one of the most effective lines of defense against contaminants, keeping portable sinks clean inside and out is critical. The process of cleaning a sink isn’t complicated, especially if it’s made of polyethylene. All that’s needed is soap and water or a chlorine bleach spray. In addition to being a proven cleaning agent, chlorine keeps sinks fresh and water safe between cleanings.
Chlorine’s Place on the Farm
While it’s best known for treating drinking water or swimming pools, chlorine also aids in food safety because of its pathogen-eliminating qualities. According to the CDC, chlorine is proven to reduce most bacteria and viruses found in water and protect against recontamination. It’s a low-cost, easy-to-use, and widely accepted method of water treatment. On farms, chlorine additives are used to ensure handwashing water is pure. The last thing commercial growers want is to be the source of a foodborne illness outbreak traced back to workers who washed their hands with unclean water and then handled crops.
The Treatment Process
The process of treating portable sinks is simple. In most cases, dropping chlorine tablets or a similar chlorine additive into the freshwater tank is all that’s needed. The chlorine will then neutralize any microorganisms in the water and prevent any additional contamination until the water is changed. Chlorine also eliminates odors, so many owners add chlorine to the wastewater tank as well to prevent musty smells that are caused by bacteria and mold.
The Science of Chlorine
Chlorine exists in a variety of forms including compressed gas, liquid bleach, solid calcium hypochlorite, or as sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) tablets. According to Mountain Safety Research (MSR), when any of those forms is added to water it reacts and creates free available chlorine (FAC), which attacks waterborne microorganisms and kills them or prevents them from reproducing. It takes a very small amount of chlorine to kill pathogens, which keeps water safe for human use.
Chlorine is a viable sanitation solution because it continues to work after initial treatment. Until all the chlorine molecules are exhausted, it will continue to disinfect and eliminate any pathogens newly introduced into the water. The exact length of effectiveness depends on storage conditions like light and heat. In addition, the residual qualities of chlorine mean a little bit goes a long way.
Learn More About GAP Compliance
Make GAP compliance a top priority on your farm. Visit AgSinksTB.com and learn about the requirements and best practices to meet them by downloading a FREE copy of GAP Compliance Made Easy, or request FREE Toilet & Handwashing Compliance Signs.
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