Whether you are a homeowner concerned about the quality of your water or a facilities manager operating a cooling tower or other large water systems, you can benefit from learning about Legionella. This potentially deadly bacteria can cause illness in humans, but simple testing will keep you informed about the state of Legionella in your water and provide you with insight on what steps to take next in your building.
How Does Legionella Get In Water?
Legionella can enter a water source in numerous ways. It lives primarily in freshwater, so any exposure can contaminate your water. One of the most common ways that it enters a clean water supply is if a small crack or break in the pipe allows debris from outside to enter. However, a number of other methods offer Legionella an opportunity to contaminate your water.
If you are concerned about Legionella, the best time to act is now. This bacterium can cause significant harm to humans through both Pontiac fever and its namesake, Legionnaires’ disease. Pontiac fever is the milder of the infections caused by Legionella and typically manifests as a flu-like illness with fever, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. However, Legionnaires’ disease causes a severe infection of the lungs (pneumonia) that can prove to be fatal in up to 10% of the people who contract it.
Steps Professionals Take To Test For Legionella In Water
Professional Legionella experts have multiple options for testing for this bacteria in a water system. However, testing is not the only step that is required in order to ensure that your building or facility is safe. Testing without a consistent and strategic plan to combat Legionella can be pointless, and a skilled Legionella Compliance expert can guide you through how to make your water system more resilient.
If you believe you have legionella in your building the first step is to turn off all drinkable water and avenues for bringing water into the facility. This is cause Legionella can pose a significant health threat in humans. Immediately turn off your water system if you believe that Legionella may be a concern; this includes toilets, as the flushing action can turn some water into airborne droplets, which is how Legionella spreads to people.
Test For Harmful Legionella Bacteria
The next step is to test for Legionella bacteria. Experts have a number of methods for testing, and they may use one that suits your situation well or a variety depending upon your needs. A DFA (direct fluorescent antibody) analysis can visualize Legionella bacteria, while a culturable analysis can offer insight into the total amount of Legionella in your system. Cultures also give information on the species and serotype of the Legionella if you have it. This is necessary in case someone contracts legionella as it will be important to know the source of the contraction.
Design & Implement Treatment Options Based Off Data
Once you understand the data on Legionella in your water system, the next step is to create a strategy, known as a water safety plan. An experienced Legionella compliance and testing company can assist you with this step by offering recommendations built specifically for your unique water system. Blindly treating Legionella without a firm grasp of what your individual system is experiencing is inefficient, often a waste of money and time, as well as not properly reducing the risk.
Prevent Future Outbreaks With Regular Testing
Regular testing is one of the most effective ways to keep Legionella in check and ensure that the visitors and residents of a building stay safe and healthy. If you are a commercial property, you may be mandated to undergo annual testing and certification in accordance with local regulations. During an annual certification, an experienced Legionella risk assessor will examine your system and note any points of concern, such as dead legs where water does not flow often or areas where corrosion or biofilms are providing safe havens for Legionella bacteria to proliferate. Also, they will review documentation, on maintenance, water treatment and previous legionella testing.
Work With A Professional Legionella Compliance & Testing Company
Regardless of whether you are a private residence or a commercial property thinking about Legionella and how it can affect you, working with a Legionella compliance and testing company is simple and can even save lives. Tower Water would be happy to examine your individual water system and offer personalized recommendations on how to proceed.
If you already have a Legionella population, our experts can help you develop a long-term strategy to keep the bacteria at bay and ensure that your building is safe. If you have not yet encountered this dangerous microbe, a compliance and testing company can offer advice to keep your system free of Legionella so that you will not have to worry about an outbreak in the future. Reach out to schedule an appointment to discuss your water system.