What Is Legionella Bacteria? – Water Treatment & Prevention Planning
Written by AOS Treatment Solutions on February 20, 2018
Legionella bacteria are common in water systems including low amounts in rivers and ponds. However, the gram-negative bacteria can multiply when conditions are optimal, which can lead to outbreaks of diseases such as Legionnaire’s Disease.
Poorly maintained water heating systems, air conditioning, hot and cold water systems, and spa pools are potential hot spots for outbreaks of Legionella. When the water temperature is at a specific level and there are opportunities to inhale droplets of infected water, Legionnaire’s disease can occur and is potentially fatal. Deposits in pipework can lead to bacteria accumulating, also resulting in problems.
How to Test for Legionella in the Water
Every business with a spa facility, air conditioning, and water heating systems should conduct Legionella water testing. Having a Legionella management plan is vital, and getting advice from experts in water treatment consulting services is one of the best ways of ensuring your business is up to date.
Testing for Legionella is best done by a water treatment company and takes into account all the pipework, shower heads, and other risky areas in a business. The testing should be carried out every 2 years; however, for high-risk areas such as a care home for seniors or hospitals where people may be vulnerable to illness, it needs to be done more frequently. If you are unsure about the frequency of testing, get advice from a water treatment company experienced in bacterial management.
Legionella Prevention Plans
Every organization with a water system should have a Legionella prevention plan. Legionella thrives under certain conditions, including stagnated and low water turnover.
Water temperatures need to be above 140 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria. Sludge and deposits in the pipework are other factors for bacterial growth, which is why legionella prevention needs to include pipework maintenance as well as the temperature control of the water.
In places like hospitals, a prevention plan should be part of the corporate maintenance plans, as an outbreak of legionnaires disease has serious implications and will involve a business shutdown while disinfection and legionella water treatment takes place.
If legionella is found within the water system or in air conditioning, the disinfection process needs to take place immediately. You will need to call in a water treatment company that is experienced in chemical treatment for legionella and in dealing with wastewater systems. By having the experts deal with your problem, you will have assurance the job has been completed correctly and their work is guaranteed. This is also vital for your business insurance to avoid litigation.
A water systems company will diagnose the problem and apply the correct and most effective treatment to the area affected by legionella. The engineers will advise your organization on the most effective legionella monitoring you can do, such as regular temperature checks and maintenance to avoid problems occurring in future. Failure to treat the problem promptly or to have regular legionella checks can expose your business to closure, litigation, and even corporate manslaughter.
A robust prevention and management plan in a business or organization should include legionella risk management. Make sure your business is up to date with checks today, and contact the experts at AOS for advice and maintenance where needed.