Legionella is a bacteria that is typically found in water and is a potentially lethal form of pneumonia, known as Legionnaires. It is contracted when the bacteria is inhaled through water droplets that are contaminated with the bacteria.
Both hot and cold water are potential carriers of the bacteria which means there are many outlets in which someone could come in contact with and inhale contaminated water droplets. Common Legionella outlets include; whirlpool and hydrotherapy pools, wet air conditioning, atomizers, shower heads, hot and cold water tanks, and contaminated water sources used in public places and businesses.
There are ways to help prevent the development and growth of Legionella in your businesses' water supply by having specific services performed on a regular basis. The most important preventative measures and services should include:
Temperature plays an important role in the development and growth of Legionella. If water is too hot or too cold, it can be a breeding ground for Legionella bacteria.
Correct cleaning methods
Thorough cleaning of water storage tanks, water systems and water distributing equipment on a regular basis is crucial for preventing Legionella from growing in your water.
Water system repairs
Making sure your water supply system is working properly and not leaking or collecting stagnant water reservoirs reduces the risks of bacterial growth and contamination.
Having your water supply treated for bacteria helps lower the risk of the Legionella bacteria developing.
What are the recommended temperatures for hot and cold water?
Temperature control and testing is critical for water sources in the prevention of Legionella contamination and it has been determined that Legionella bacteria become viable and thrive in temperatures that hover in the range of 20-45?C. Legionella bacteria are inactive in temperatures below 20?C and cannot survive in temperatures above 60?C.
As the manager of your water source, or water system, it is your responsibility to make sure the water stays at a constant, safe temperature. In order to be sure your water stays in the recommended range it is important to have regular, routine water temperature testing which should be done on a monthly basis.
Other water safety services:
Cleaning water distributing equipment should be cleaned regularly. Infrequently used water systems and distributing equipment should be flushed weekly and cleaned every quarter. Inspections on the system should be made on a scheduled basis. Appropriate schedules for inspections are 6 monthly inspections along with an annual inspection with annual review.
Disinfectants are considered as the last protective measure in the line of defense for Legionella bacteria. However, according to OSHA, after a proper inspection, it may be recommended that certain proponents of your water system be disinfected with chemicals, such as Chlorine. Your water management service can determine it disinfectants would be an effective measure for water safety in your water system.