Legionella is one of the most critical risk factors for facilities, given that keeping an entire industrial water system clean and safe is a significant challenge. A water management plan is key to preventing bacteria and other issues from developing within a water system, but such a plan is only as effective as the sum of all of its parts.
Steps To An Legionella Water Management Plan
In order to ensure that your water management plan is effective, especially against the constant threat that is Legionella, make sure that you carefully take your time to run through each of the following steps.
Step 1: Understand Your Unique Risk Factors
Legionella prevention cannot be effectively achieved with a cookie-cutter approach. If you simply add some chemicals to your water without understanding anything about what is encouraging Legionella to grow or what other factors may interfere with your plans, you will likely find that your mitigation efforts are, at best, only partially successful.
It is important that you fully understand your building’s risk factors when developing your water management plan so that you can create a strategy that incorporates them. For example, if you have dead legs where water is stagnant, or if your water is poorly regulated in temperature, you already have key information about where Legionella may be finding a foothold. This allows you to adapt your strategy with this data in mind, whether that means fixing a piece of your system or making other adjustments that did not previously come to mind.
Step 2: Implement A Legionella Water Management Plan That Is Comprehensive
A Legionella water management plan must be comprehensive, not only for safety’s sake, but also for the purposes of compliance with local and state regulations. Your water management plan must target all aspects of your facility; simply crafting your strategy based on the water in, for example, your cooling tower basin will likely excel at just that—treating water in your cooling tower basin.
Everywhere else, it may be less effective. Take what you learned in step one and use it to craft a strategy that tackles every corner of your system using multiple tools; chemical water treatment is not the only option at your disposal. Do not neglect filtration, pH balancing and more.
Step 3: Validate The Water Management Plan
Once you have implemented your water management plan, it is vital that you actually test it regularly. Do not always test from the same location, and do not simply assume that the plan is working. A professional can help you comprehensively test your system, including sending water samples off to a certified lab able to process Legionella and even clarify which particular type of bacteria you have.
This data is critical for making further adjustments to your plan and tailoring it to tackle the needs of your building. In addition, you are required to regularly test your water and report the results to the state due to regulatory guidance. If you fail to do so, you could face consequences for a compliance violation.
Step 4: Make Regular Adjustments Substantiated By Data
After collecting your data, use it to go back to step two and adjust your implementation. If Legionella has still been found in your water, you may need to increase your chemical dosage, use different treatments or even change your water temperature. The data that you gather when validating your plan is vital to making informed decisions going forward.
Remember, too, that Legionella is a bacteria that thrives as part of a general ecosystem; if your water treatment is not working, consider alternative reasons, such as a high presence of biological material in your water on which the bacteria is feeding.
Biofilms can provide shelter to Legionella from some of your treatments, and if your pipes are scaled or corroded, these nooks and crannies can do the same. Legionella prevention as part of your water management plan is a comprehensive issue that must be tackled fully instead of piecemeal.
Step 5: Work With Experts To Eliminate Guesswork
The good news about Legionella management, no matter the size of your facility, is that you have access to experts who have years of experience in this field. The professionals at Tower Water make this type of project their job and would be happy to help you understand how to put together a comprehensive Legionella water management plan.
If you have a plan that is not working as you had intended, TW can uncover the reason why and educate you about how to remediate your system. Reach out to schedule an appointment to get the help that you need so that you do not have to approach this nuanced project on your own.