Mitigation of microbial contamination from waste water and aerosolization by sink design

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1 Scopus citations


Background: Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a significant cause of increased medical costs, morbidity, mortality, and have been partly associated with sinks, their waste water outlets and associated pipework. Aim: To determine whether an engineered sink could limit microbial aerosol contaminants in the air and sink basin. Methods: Multiple comparisons were undertaken between an experimental sink, designed to limit aerosolization and p-trap contamination to a control hospital sink, both connected to a common drain system. The experimental sink was equipped with ultraviolet light (UV), an aerosol containment hood, ozonated water generator and a flush system to limit bacterial growth/aerosolization and limit microbial growth in the p-trap. Nutrient material was added daily to simulate typical material discarded into a hospital sink. Surface collection swabs, settle plates and p-trap contamination levels were assessed for bacteria and fungi. Findings: The experimental sink had significantly decreased levels of bacterial and fungal p-trap contamination (99.9% for Tryptic Soy (TSA) and Sabouraud agar (SAB) plates) relative to the initial levels. Aerosol-induced contaminant from the p-traps was significantly lower for the experimental vs the control sink for TSA (76%) and SAB (86%) agar settle plates. Conclusions: Limiting microbial contamination is critical for the control of nosocomial infections of in-room sinks, which provide a major source of contamination. Our experimental sink studies document that regular ozonated water rinsing of the sink surface, decontamination of p-trap water, and UV decontamination of surfaces limits microbial aerosolization and surface contamination, with potential to decrease patient exposure and reduce hospital acquired infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)193-199
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Decontamination
  • Hospital
  • Infection
  • Ozone
  • Sink
  • Ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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