The insidious bacteria known as legionella has established a notorious reputation in recent history. Since the late 70s, when it was discovered, we’ve grown to understand that Legionnaires’ disease affects anywhere from 8,000 to 18,000 people a year. Although this statistic may be surprising to some, professionals in the water treatment industry know just how dangerous this bacteria can be. Our founders saw this danger and created Tower Water in response. Besides being the only exclusive legionella compliance company in the greater NYC metro area, we strive to educate the public on the dangers posed by legionella and the factors that help it propagate. In that spirit, read on to discover four ways that this bacteria affects people and the water systems that they rely on.
Legionella contamination stems from both internal and external factors.
Both external and internal factors can lead to legionella contamination in water systems. For example, water cooling towers are one of the most common sources of legionella outbreaks due to its vulnerability to airborne contaminants. Even more significantly, the water that goes through these towers reaches almost every visitors or inhabitant of the building in question, multiplying the risk of infection exponentially.
Legionella propagates best in large, complex water systems that have not been adequately maintained.
Like most bacteria, legionella thrives when left unattended, especially when given an ample environment. If a facility does not engage in frequent legionella testing (every 90 days), the bacteria can infiltrate large, complex water systems and become quite difficult to fully eradicate. Regular testing and treatment, if necessary, is the only way to ensure that a water system remains legionella-free.
Common water appliances and equipment can aerosolize water bearing legionella.
Devices like hot tubs, fountains, showers, and even cooling towers themselves aerosolize water, meaning that they can convert water into a fine spray or mist. Although this is to be expected, this can be less than ideal when water-borne bacteria like legionella becomes a factor. The most common way that people contract Legionnaires’ disease – the severe form of pneumonia caused by legionella – is through aspiration. The services of a legionella compliance company are critical in preventing legionella from spreading in this manner.
Some people are more vulnerable to Legionnaires’ disease than others.
Current and former smokers, people with chronic disease or otherwise compromised immune systems, and adults 50 years or older are more likely to contract Legionnaires’ disease. Although measures should be taken to prevent anyone from contracting the disease, these populations are especially at risk and may want to remain informed about the compliance status of the buildings they inhabit or frequently visit.
Legionella compliance remains a critical concern for facilities and their owners. For legionella testing and other legionella compliance services, reach out to Tower Water at (212) 804-8552 or contact us online!