Whether you are a homeowner concerned with the safety of your water system or a building manager who needs to stay on top of the performance and inspection of your machinery, you may wonder what role Legionella plays in your building. This potentially dangerous microbe can be present in any freshwater source, so ensuring that your water systems are free of Legionella is an important responsibility. In order to prevent Legionella, you have a number of options.
What Is Legionella Prevention?
Legionella prevention starts long before you ever encounter a problem with the bacteria. Keeping visitors and residents safe from Legionella bacteria requires you to care for and maintain your water system so that the bacteria do not have a place to grow and spread. A skilled water treatment expert can guide you through this process based specifically on your unique water system.
Helpful Methods For Legionella Prevention
Multiple risk factors determine whether Legionella can find a home in your water system, and you will need to deal with all of them in order to ensure that this microbe does not infect the people who come into contact with your freshwater. The primary method by which humans fall ill as a result of Legionella is via inhaled water droplets; these are most likely to occur from devices that evaporate water, like cooling towers, showerheads, hot tubs, and the like.
Once a human has come into contact with Legionella, illness can develop as soon as a few hours later. The more minor infection caused by this bacterium is Pontiac fever, which presents with flu-like symptoms such as diarrhea, chills, weight loss, and loss of appetite. Pontiac fever is uncomfortable, but it is rarely any more dangerous than the seasonal flu.
Legionnaire’s disease, on the other hand, is much more severe. Bacteria that cause this namesake illness prompt dangerous infection and pneumonia in the lungs; Legionnaires’ disease can become fatal in up to 10% of the individuals who are exposed to it. For this reason, prevention of Legionella is much safer than later treatment.
Utilize Risk Assessments
The first step in tackling a Legionella problem is to utilize and perform risk assessments. Work with an expert to evaluate the deficiencies in your system that contribute to the growth of Legionella bacteria. These microbes thrive in tepid water, so consider how you are heating or cooling your system. Similarly, if you have dead legs where water rarely flows or biofilms that are protecting patches of water, you could be fostering a safe space for Legionella to proliferate. Each water system is different and will have unique challenges to overcome.
Set Up An Efficient Plan
Once you understand the risks in your water system, you can develop a plan to resolve them. This may include replacing piping that is too corroded or rusted to save, changing the temperature of your water, or treating the water with chemicals. The solution to your issue will be just as individualized as your water system is.
Properly Maintain Systems
Once you have understood the weak areas in your system and created a plan to deal with them, the next step is to keep up with maintenance. It does you no good to treat your water for Legionella and then slip back into the same old habits that caused the outbreak in the first place. Protection from Legionella requires vigilance and consistent application of the strategies you developed in the earlier stages. You may be able to rely on digital sensors and data applications to remotely monitor your water, removing much of the burden from your hands.
Seek Professional Assistance
Legionnaires’ disease is a dangerous possibility when it comes to caring for your water system, and properly eliminating the bacteria that cause it is best left to professionals. Experts can thoroughly examine your system and make individualized recommendations on how to handle Legionella in ways that the average person cannot; this is why they are experts. It is best to rely on water treatment technicians to help you clean and maintain your water rather than doing so yourself, since failure could result in the growth and proliferation of bacteria that are harmful and potentially even fatal to humans.
Reach Out To The Legionella Professionals
If you are considering the current state of your water system and are concerned about Legionella, reach out to an NYC Legionella compliance expert who can review your options with you. Whether you believe you already have Legionella bacteria or you want to create a strategy to prevent it in the future, experts like the ones at Tower Water can examine your water system in detail and offer personalized recommendations for conquering Legionella bacteria. A technician will help you develop a strategy to ensure that Legionella is never a problem that you have to worry about.