Water management within a building is made up of multiple moving parts, from chemical treatment to physical filtration and more. However, the purpose of legionella water management plan is not just to keep your water clean for the purposes of using it in your facility and avoiding damage to your machinery (although that is a favorable benefit).
You must also undergo regular legionella water management plan updates and processes in order to remain compliant with both local and state regulations for the control and prevention of Legionella, a potentially deadly bacteria. Without paying careful attention to your Legionella strategy, this microorganism could find a foothold in your facility and, when aerosolized or turned to vapor, your contaminated water may travel for miles, posing a health hazard.
Legionella Control Measures To Prevent Outbreaks
Legionella prevention and compliance is about more than simply avoiding fines. While it is true that a lackluster plan could see you facing both monetary and other consequences, you must also abide by regulations so that you can continue your operations as normal safely. One of the most important compliance requirements for Legionella management is control measures. It is not sufficient to simply address an outbreak when it occurs; you must make active choices to prevent Legionella from ever gaining a foothold in your water system.
Compliance in this area most commonly looks like water treatment, filtration and other such options. Your water treatment plan should be customized to your specific facility, because your building will have its own unique risk factors based on elements such as water composition, the type and orientation of your pipes and more. Many buildings benefit from chlorination of their water to inhibit the growth of Legionella, but you have other options too.
Be sure to monitor and adjust your water temperature, as Legionella thrive between 77 degrees and 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Be aware, however, that they can still live and grow in number at temperatures higher than this. Similarly, you may need to consider options such as pH balancing to reduce the corrosion occurring within your pipes, since damaged surfaces can provide a safe haven for bacteria to hide. Biocides may also be necessary to prevent algae and biofilms that can protect and feed Legionella.
Regularly Scheduled Inspections
Another important requirement in legionella water management plan is inspections. In general, inspections of your system (and especially cooling towers) must be conducted every 90 days; however, depending on your situation, you may elect to have them done more often. This includes not only a visual inspection of all machinery but can (and should) also incorporate other compliance elements such as water testing.
You must regularly test your water; some facilities elect to test their system as often as once per week. Water testing for compliance purposes is not as simple as using a dipstick in a water sample. Instead, you should have your sampled water sent off to a professional lab that is certified to work with Legionella; at Tower Water, we partner with a NY-Elite ELAP approved laboratory that aligns with the requirements set forth in Local Law 77.
In addition to the above elements of Legionella compliance as part of your legionella water management plan, how you keep your documentation also matters. Your records must be freely accessible upon request, and you must submit changes regularly as proof that you are within compliance. Documentation includes your risk mitigation plan for Legionella, as well as any cleaning and disinfection history or logs.
It also must incorporate emergency contacts and a list of contact information for the team of individuals who work with your water system and are responsible for the implementation of your Legionella control strategies. Be sure to document the date and results of everything you do, including Legionella tests, system cleaning and incidents in which you must treat Legionella bacteria, if any arise.
Failure to do so can result in violations or even summons to court, which not only impact your profits but can result in fines or other consequences, such as forcing the shutdown of your facility until the problem is demonstrably addressed.
Trust The Experts To Help You Remain Compliant
Whether you are trying to make your Legionella water management plan align with compliance requirements for the first time or you would like a professional to double check your existing strategy and refine it, trust the experts with years of experience specifically with Legionella.
At Tower Water, we specialize in helping businesses comply with the nuanced and complex rules and regulations that have been set forth by Local Law 77 and the state and city governments. Reach out to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.