Any business or facility owner who utilizes cooling towers and other machinery that relies on water should conduct regular maintenance on the system. A comprehensive maintenance strategy includes consistent Legionella sampling to understand the current state of the water being used in the system. Legionella sampling offers a variety of benefits with almost no downsides; it is an important part of any routine inspection and can even save lives.
What Is Legionella Sampling?
Legionella sampling is the process of carefully testing the water used by a building’s equipment, such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and decorative fountains, among many others. Thorough sampling uses specialized testing tools to determine the exact species and type of bacteria in water, often with the assistance of an approved laboratory. While water sampling can provide a number of valuable insights about the health and composition of the water, one of its main purposes is to ascertain the prevalence of a particularly dangerous bacteria called Legionella. Legionella can cause illness in humans, and ensuring that a water system is free from this microorganism is required by law through inspections and compliance rules.
The Benefits of Sampling for Legionella
Legionella sampling provides a number of benefits, and it is affordable, meaning that there are almost no downsides to regularly sampling your water. From providing valuable information about the state of your building’s water to catching Legionella early, before it can become a risk, water sampling is a critical part of operating a building. However, before testing, a plan should be in place to understand the actions that must be taken if it is found.
Part of a Comprehensive Maintenance Plan
Any building that utilizes water as part of operating its equipment, whether cooling towers, decorative fountains, or something else, should have a strategy for comprehensive maintenance of its systems. Sampling for Legionella provides the opportunity to gather water samples and learn more about the state of the building’s health. Legionella need not be the only microorganism that is tested for when water sampling takes place. Other bacteria and biologic material can also be discovered that indicate issues with water temperature or the choice of water treatment being used.
Algae is a common problem in open water systems that can worsen into biofilms and even foul equipment. As part of a comprehensive maintenance plan, Legionella sampling can offer an easy opportunity to gather insight about the quality and composition of the water being used in a system.
Prevention of Potentially Dangerous Illness
One of the most important facets of Legionella sampling is its role in preventing potentially dangerous illness. Legionella is not a harmless bacteria; in fact, it poses such a high risk of sickness in humans that state and local governments have developed regulations mandating that facilities comply with regular Legionella testing and that they have a thorough plan for stopping an outbreak.
Legionella is a gram-negative bacteria that most commonly comes into contact with humans via the eyes, nose and throat when aerosolized water or vapor are expelled into the air. This commonly occurs during the operation of some of the most common equipment at large facilities, such as cooling towers and hot tubs. However, even buildings that do not rely on these machines are still at risk, as even a simple act such as flushing a toilet can expel water droplets into the air.
Once in contact with humans, Legionella bacteria most commonly cause Pontiac fever, which presents similarly to the seasonal flu. However, Legionella can also cause the much more dangerous Legionnaires’ disease, which is fatal in one in ten who fall ill due to the severe lung inflammation that it causes.
Fulfilling Local and State Compliance Requirements
Another beneficial aspect of Legionella sampling is that it keeps buildings in compliance with state and local regulations. New York jurisdictions require regular Legionella sampling and reporting, sometimes multiple times per year, in order to keep the public safe. By regularly performing sampling, you can keep your facility compliant and avoid consequences such as fines. Most areas request that facilities undergo Legionella sampling every 90 days, but be sure to research your local and state regulations to ensure that you are in compliance with the schedule.
Work With the Legionella Sampling Experts
Whether you suspect that Legionella has already begun to proliferate in your system or you would like to develop a preventive strategy, one of the first steps is Legionella sampling. In order to ensure that the results are trustworthy and comprehensive, be sure to work with the experts who have access to approved laboratories for analysis. Tower Water would be happy to assist you in performing your regular Legionella sampling. Reach out to schedule an appointment to meet with a professional.