Legionella detection and risk management is a multi-faceted process, but with the right experts and technicians, it doesn’t have to be a complicated undertaking.
Having the necessary procedures in place to prevent an outbreak far outweighs the risks and processes an organisation will face post-detection.
Here, we guide you through the most important factors you must considering when managing legionella risk and management.
Evaluating your organisation’s risk
The evaluation of an organisation’s risk will most likely fall into two categories of risk assessment; ‘water system risk’ and ‘health risk’.
‘Water system risk’ refers to the monitoring of the water quality provided by the facility, and includes an analysis of the facilities plumbing, water quality, regular testing for contamination, and treatment of water through biocide prevention.
‘Health risk’ refers to the risk of a client becoming infected, and refers largely to the age (over 50) and health (presence of lung disease, general health or lifestyle) of the patient.
Taken together, an understanding of where provided water might become infected and delivered to those patients most at risk should be attained, so all necessary measures of care and prevention can be undertaken.
Keeping building plans up-to-date
It is critical to have current and accurate plans of the building’s plumbing infrastructure, highlighting areas where water may be unintentionally warmed (cold water pipes running alongside hot water pipes, for instance) or pipes where water may stagnate due to low-flow or infrequent use (such as in pipes no longer in use, closed off due to renovation, etc.). Such pipes can offer ideal breeding grounds for Legionella bacteria to colonise and leak into drinking water systems or other areas where contaminated aerosols may become airborne and inhaled.
Analysis of a facility’s water should extend beyond its plumbing system, incorporating every level, from the water’s initial source to the tap. This includes consideration of where the water originates and its quality at every stage of delivery to the facility and its staff, clients and visitors (inclusive of any utility using water: showers, baths, basins, dishwashers, washing machines, chilled water dispensers, ice machines, etc.).
Similarly, comprehensive testing of other water systems on-site should be undertaken, including that of water from storage tanks, water used in fire control and garden sprinkler systems, and any other systems of low-flow or which may have lain dormant and allowed to stagnate due to infrequent use.
A sustainable, long term approach
While no approach offers 100% prevention of an outbreak, due diligence and measures can be taken to ensure such risks are kept to an absolute minimum and that water is clean and safe for use. These measures require a multi-barrier approach, which involves numerous levels of surveillance, testing and treatment of the water at all stages – from source to delivery – to reduce the risk of contamination.
Most importantly, all facilities must maintain adequate and robust water monitoring programs, to ensure water is tested and kept free of microbial pollutants.
HydroChem: Water Treatment services you can depend on
As the only Australian water treatment company with both Quality Accreditation, OHS Accreditation and Environmental Accreditation, our clients come to rely on us for our exacting standards, professional and customer focused approach and ability to consistently improve their bottom line while enhancing and improving upon their water treatment processes.
To discover how we can help with Legionella prevention and Risk Management, have a chat with one of our consultants today.