Anyone who spends time in a building that uses freshwater could be risking exposure to any bacteria that exist in the water, including Legionella. For this reason, building owners or maintenance managers have a responsibility to ensure that they maintain a robust Legionella prevention plan in order to keep people safe when they visit. Legionella prevention plans may seem unnecessary in buildings that have never encountered issues with water safety; however, the benefits of having the right Legionella prevention plan in place outweigh the time required to establish and execute the plan.
What Is Legionella?
Legionella is a gram-negative bacteria that is transmissible to humans. When the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, mouth, or throat come into contact with water vapor or droplets in the air that contain Legionella, the bacteria can begin to proliferate in the human body. This growing bacterial burden may result in Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness characterized by chills, nausea, fever, muscle aches, and loss of appetite.
While Pontiac fever often resolves on its own, Legionella bacteria can also cause a much more dangerous illness called Legionnaires’ disease. This pneumonia-like sickness results in sudden and severe inflammation of the lungs that requires immediate emergency medical attention. As many as one in ten people who contract Legionnaires’ disease may die from it, which is why maintaining a thorough Legionella prevention plan is critical for the safety of anyone who enters the building.
Why You Need A Legionella Prevention Plan
A Legionella prevention plan enables quick, decisive action to stop Legionella before it can make people ill. Legionella bacteria can thrive in freshwater, which is the main water source of essentially all buildings. While large equipment such as hot water heaters and cooling towers have been proven to be the most likely culprits behind Legionella outbreaks, even actions as simple as flushing a toilet or operating a hot tub can aerosolize water contaminated with the bacteria. To prevent these risks, it is important to maintain a prevention plan.
Stop Issues Before They Arise
One of the primary purposes of a Legionella prevention plan is to stop issues from occurring before they ever become a problem. A prevention plan will include regular water treatment and inspections of the water system to ensure that any risks are addressed quickly. From dead legs where water is slow to flow to temperature regulation that encourages the growth of Legionella bacteria, a prevention plan will assist in discovering issues and resolving them before the organisms can take hold.
Detect Issues That Have Escaped Notice
If Legionella has infiltrated the water system, a comprehensive Legionella prevention plan will detect it quickly, while it is still easy to combat. Regular water testing and inspection is part of a thorough prevention plan, and it might in the near future be required in order to pass regulatory screenings in most jurisdictions. While the minimum requirements typically mandate an inspection once per year or once every two years, it is wise to maintain a regular schedule of inspections more often than required.
Resolve Issues Quickly And Thoroughly
If Legionella is discovered in the water system, it is important to act quickly in order to stop its growth before it proliferates into a thriving colony that is difficult to conquer. A Legionella prevention plan will include contact information and established relationships with experts so that you know who to contact right away. Additionally, a thorough prevention plan will lay out strategies for resolving a Legionella issue quickly, ensuring that as little time as possible is spent troubleshooting rather than cleansing the system of the bacteria.
Work With The Legionella Prevention Experts
Creating a Legionella prevention plan that works for your business or building is best completed with the help of a Legionella expert. The strategies that you employ in order to keep your water system safe, as well as address existing Legionella, will depend upon the unique features of your system and how it is used. For this reason, reaching out to a Legionella prevention expert ahead of time to establish a relationship and draft a comprehensive Legionella prevention plan is a must.
When considering who to trust with the responsibility of creating a thorough prevention plan, be sure to rely on experts who have years of experience in tackling even the most complex Legionella problems. The professionals at Tower Water would be happy to examine your water system and help you to create a personalized prevention strategy that will keep your water free from dangerous bacteria and any visitors to your property safe and healthy. Reach out to schedule an appointment to speak with an expert.