Having a building test positive for Legionella is many owners’ and managers’ worst nightmare, though they may not realize just how important this situation is until it occurs. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria, which means that it must be tackled quickly—ideally before it arises at all, but immediately after it is discovered if it is present.
If your building tests positive for Legionella, what you do next will depend upon a variety of factors, including what type of water the Legionella was found in and what your water management plan says to do next.
What Is A Water Management Plan?
The number-one rule for conquering an outbreak of Legionella in your water system is to follow your water management plan. However, many facilities do not realize that they are not maintaining a comprehensive water management plan until they need one, by which point it is too late. If you have a water management plan at your location, be sure to consult it for instructions about what to do next.
If you have not developed a plan to manage your water system that is documented and easily accessible, you can work with a Legionella testing company or water treatment professional to develop a comprehensive plan that addresses all of your system needs.
However, in most instances the creation of a water management plan (sometimes abbreviated as WMP) waits until after the current Legionella situation has occurred and has been brought under control. The best thing to do if your building tests positive is to contact the professionals.
Methodology For Potable (Drinking) Water
If Legionella has been discovered in your building’s potable water, you must be sure to act quickly. Potable water is the water that humans regularly come into contact with. It can be the water that comes from faucets, showers, hoses and other access points that humans may drink, wash their hands with, cook with and so on.
The presence of Legionella in potable water poses a direct risk to humans, since Legionella that enters the human body may cause serious illness or even death.
EPA Safe Drinking Water Act
The EPA Safe Drinking Water Act provides a set of stipulations and methodologies for bringing your potable water up to a safe standard; you can begin there in your treatment. However legionella is not included in this act and the level for legionella in your drinking water should be “ND” or “non-detect” of Legionella.
If you are struggling to fulfill the EPA’s requirements or are unsure of what to do, you must take the affected water system out of service until you can address the problem. This could have a large impact on the people within the building and may even result in closure or other issues, which is why being proactive to prevent Legionella before it occurs is the smartest solution.
Approach For Non-Potable Water
If your Legionella issue has arisen in non-potable water, you must still act quickly; even water that humans do not consume or touch can cause illness very soon after Legionella has begun to proliferate. These bacteria can live in water droplets that are expelled by a system as it creates mist, steam or evaporation, and miniscule contaminated droplets may be carried by the wind for miles away from their point of origin. Such as Cooling towers, humidifiers, pools,or spas.
1. Take System Offline
To address non-potable water, be sure to take the affected system offline so that it has a lower chance of expelling contaminated droplets. Cleaning, disinfection and the introduction of chemicals are typically the ways that a Legionella outbreak is addressed, but the specific type of system that is contaminated (such as beverage facilities or pharmaceutical locations) may not be eligible for all of these solutions.
2. Check With Manufacturer
Always check with the manufacturer as to what to use. This is why it is important to establish a good relationship with a Legionella professional testing and water treatment company who can advise you. Disinfection and water treatment are not tasks that should be approached by a novice; the system must be cleaned thoroughly, and the origin of the issue must also be identified to prevent it from happening again.
3. Check For Outstanding Issues
Dead legs, biofilms and water temperature issues can all result in Legionella outbreaks. You may also consider sending your Legionella testing results to a lab that can identify exactly which strain of the bacteria you are dealing with.
This can help your chemical or other water treatment plan to be more successful and targeted. A professional in water treatment can likely recommend the remediation method best suited for your situation.
Work With The Professional Legionella Prevention And Treatment Experts
Whether you do not yet have a water management plan,need to develop one, or are looking for assistance in handling Legionella positives at your building, leave it to the experts. Legionella Compliance Solutions would be excited to help you develop a strategy to eradicate Legionella before anyone falls ill. Reach out to schedule an appointment with an expert.