While bacteria is everywhere in our environment, the spread and growth of certain types of bacteria can make you unwell. Legionella, for example, is found in natural water sources like rivers and ponds, and typically remains harmless in these settings. However, when the bacteria occurs in man-made water systems and reaches levels that are harmful, it can be responsible for causing Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks.
Regular legionella checks should be carried out at establishments with man-made water supplies. An outbreak at a hospital, care home, office or school could be fatal, so it’s vital to ensure your water system undergoes a thorough legionella assessment periodically. Knowing how bacteria thrives and spreads can also help you to take extra precautions and make the right legionella checks.
Legionella Risk Assessment
A legionella risk assessment can be used to inspect areas where bacteria is likely to multiply rapidly. This can include shower heads and taps that haven’t been used for a long time, hot tubs, hot water tanks, cooling towers, water outlets and other places where it’s possible for breathable water droplets to be created and dispersed. The assessment will also advise on how often reviews are necessary, and which steps will need to be taken to keep the water system safe.
What Causes Bacteria to Thrive?
Certain environments, conditions and systems make a legionella outbreak more likely, such as:
- Optimal Temperature Conditions
If the water temperature in all or some parts of the water system is between 20-35 degrees Celsius, bacteria will grow rapidly as it loves warm conditions. If legionella bacteria gets into a warm, man-made system, it can multiply quickly, causing a serious outbreak if regular checks aren’t made. That’s why legionella testing is so important, especially if you know there’s an increased risk.
- Water is Stored/Re-Circulated
The risk of legionella is also increased if water is stored and/or re-circulated. This is because the water inside the system is not fresh, meaning that if legionella is present, it’ll seize the chance to multiply. The good news is there are water flushing techniques that freshen the water supply and prevent contamination. Water treatment technology is also designed to kill any bacteria that is present, helping to manage the risk of a legionella outbreak.
- Deposits that Support Bacterial Growth
There are certain deposits that can support bacterial growth and help it spread, providing nutrients for the organism. Such deposits include rust, sludge, scale, organic matter and biofilms. This suggests that water systems could do with a regular clean to prevent such deposits from feeding bacterial growth.
If you’re worried about legionella spreading in your facility, contact Legionella Solutions today and prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ Disease and other nasty illnesses. With our professional risk assessments and control solutions you can run your building with peace of mind.