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Guidance on flood damage in pubs

Advice is provided below on the sanitising of:

  • dispense equipment to put hygienic beer dispense back into service;
  • kegs and casks for safe handling and return to the brewery for washing and refilling; and,
  • gas cylinders for safe handling and return to the filler for refilling.

Guidance is also provided for circumstances where water supplied to outlets is temporarily non-potable, regardless of whether or not the outlet itself has been subject to flooding.

The recommended protocol for dealing with contaminated cellars and equipment is set out in the attachment at the bottom of this page.

It is the responsibility of the pub operator to ensure that the cellar and contents are professionally sanitized. Documentary evidence that this has been carried out satisfactorily must be presented to any personnel entering the cellar. Sanitisation of the cellar will include equipment, kegs, casks and gas cylinders.

Cellar Contents:

  • Electrical Equipment: The components and wiring in electrical equipment recovered from flooded pub cellars will be damaged and, in any case, should be treated as contaminated. The cellar service provider will recover the equipment for safe disposal / destruction with recovery of costs being subject to the insurance claim made by the outlet.
  • Casks: Where contacted by flood water, the contents must be discarded since the shive is porous and there is a risk that the contents could be contaminated. Claims for recovery of costs should be part of the claim made by the outlet.
  • Kegs: Unbroached the contents may be unaffected, but if contacted by flood water, should be returned to the brewery. All containers affected by flood water should be clearly marked prior to uplift and return to the brewery.
  • Dispense lines/ equipment: Cellar technical services will be responsible for the replacement of dispense equipment and beer lines that have been affected by flood water and recovery of costs will be subject to the insurance claim made by the outlet.

Brewery Returns

Dray crews uplifting empty kegs, casks and gas cylinders must be provided with documentary evidence that these have been sanitised in situ. Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (including waterproof clothes) should be worn for handling sanitised and marked items that are removed from the cellar. They should be placed in a segregated area in the brewery.

Brewery Operations

Kegs and casks that have been affected by flood water should be put through a double washing regime. Consideration should be given to carrying out tests to check the microbiological status of the containers prior to putting back into service. This will be particularly pertinent for wooden casks which may have absorbed contaminated water.

Non-potable water supplies

Where the mains water supplied to an outlet (on a temporary basis) is non-potable, any plastic tubes and fittings on ice-making machines, post-mix equipment (for soft drinks) and glass washing machines should be subject to a rigorous cleaning regime once potable water supplies have resumed. It is advised that filters should be replaced.

Line cleaning and glass washing should only be undertaken using potable water.


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