Legionella is an ever present risk in any water system that contains freshwater—which is almost all of them, residential or commercial. However, as a commercial building owner or manager, you have a particular responsibility to reduce the risk of Legionella, since proliferation of this potentially deadly bacteria in a large facility could result in an outbreak that threatens the health and wellbeing of many.
5 Steps To Reduce The Risk Of Legionella
Reducing Legionella risk will always be a process that requires some personalized guidance, but in general, consider the following factors when evaluating how you can approach the problem of reducing the risk of Legionella in a comprehensive and effective manner.
1. Monitor Your Water Temperature
Legionella enjoy and thrive in tepid water, which is common at commercial facilities. They reproduce best in a range between 77 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit, but they can survive at temperatures much higher even than this. Consider the temperature that you keep your water system at and whether external factors (such as your cooling tower being exposed to the sun) could be interfering with your plans.
It can be difficult to navigate the fine line between water that is hot enough to kill Legionella or stop their reproduction (approximately 132 degrees) and water that exceeds regulatory requirements for safety from scalding. However, occasional hot water flushes or other temperature-based alternatives can prove effective in managing Legionella risk.
2. Flush Or Fix Dead Legs
Dead legs are parts of your water system where water tends to stagnate or does not drain or move frequently. Sometimes, these are remnants of previous parts of the water system before it was renovated or improved. If you have dead legs in your system, your other water treatment plans such as temperature changes, chemical additives and biocides may not be reaching all of the areas of your system effectively.
Remember to flush the dead legs of your system from time to time so that the stagnating water can be released and your Legionella prevention plan actually touches your entire system. If possible consider removing or cutting them out of the system.
3. Understand Your Water Composition
The area in which your building is located, where the source of your water comes from and even what you are using it for will all determine what the water composition itself looks like. Understanding all of the elements that make up your water can be a valuable tool in developing an effective Legionella prevention plan for your commercial building.
Water that is prone to a pH imbalance or the presence of biological material will present certain risk factors, such as pipe scaling or biofilms, that can offer a safe haven or much needed nutrients to Legionella bacteria. Knowing ahead of time which struggles you may face can work in your favor to develop a more targeted approach.
4. Use Customized Water Treatment
Water treatment should never be a cookie cutter approach. What works for one building is not the same strategy that will work for another because each building, its water and its risk factors are all unique. You need to understand specifically where Legionella may gain a foothold in your facility, which means working with experts and considering the risks you are facing.
Simply selecting the most common water treatment chemicals could be leaving important gaps in your Legionella protection, and it may cost you more money in conducting treatments that you do not need. Customized treatment can keep your water system functioning efficiently to reduce water waste and cost.
5. Develop A Legionella Prevention Plan With The Pros
You do not need to tackle the nuanced process of creating a Legionella risk prevention plan alone; the professionals are here to help. In fact, it is important to establish a relationship with water treatment experts so that if Legionella is discovered in your system, you already know who to call and can act quickly.
The presence of Legionella not only puts you and your visitors at risk, but it also threatens regulatory consequences if not handled correctly. Maintaining a regular relationship with water treatment professionals can equip you with the tools needed to mitigate Legionella over time and prepare you for emergency action should you discover the bacteria in your water.
Our Expert Water Treatment Specialists Can Help
Whether you are trying to reduce the risk of Legionella for the first time or you would like to be sure that you have covered all of your bases when it comes to the growth of this hazardous bacteria, leave the evaluation of your water system to the experts.
The professionals at Legionella Compliance Solutions understand that each facility should benefit from its own customized approach. They also work with several water treatment experts which they can feel comfortable recommending to you for your unique water safety plan. Reach out to discuss the development of a risk prevention plan with Legionella Compliance Solutions today.