Those whose facilities or buildings operate a cooling tower, even if only during certain months of the year, are responsible for remaining in compliance with local and state regulations regarding their machinery and its potential risks of operation.
In order to ensure that cooling towers remain compliant, it is important that regular audits are conducted to ensure that Legionella is not proliferating within a system and to address a building’s strategy for the prevention of the bacteria in its system.
Why Legionella Compliance Audits Exist
Legionella compliance audits are an important part of operating a cooling tower. Simply maintaining regular system checks and adhering to a schedule is not enough to guarantee that Legionella is not proliferating in a system.
This potentially deadly bacteria can thrive in tepid water, and should it enter the air through water vapor or droplets such as those produced by a cooling tower’s mist and evaporation, it can cause severe illness such as Legionnaires’ disease in humans.
The purpose of a Legionella compliance audit is to ensure that a facility is keeping up with a reliable schedule of water treatment and other plans that reduce the risk of Legionella.
The auditor will also check for any active Legionella presence so that the cooling tower is thoroughly reviewed for any possible risk.
If the auditor discovers the presence of Legionella in the system, it can be treated immediately to prevent further growth of the bacteria before it becomes an even more difficult problem to manage.
The Components of a Compliance Audit for Legionella
A Legionella compliance audit is made up of numerous parts. The first area to be examined is the building’s current management plan for the water system.
If a facility does not have a water management plan at all, it is unlikely to pass compliance. The audit will carefully review the strategy put in place to mitigate Legionella in the facility.
This includes whether the building has an emergency plan should Legionella be discovered; an emergency strategy enables quick reactions to a Legionella outbreak so that it can be treated immediately, reducing the risk of illness in humans without delay.
Next, the audit will examine whether previous and current Legionella risk assessments are being conducted by an accurate and impartial source.
This is part of the reason an independent party should typically conduct Legionella risk assessments and testing from time to time rather than relying on an employee of the facility.
The individuals responsible for Legionella risk management will be evaluated based upon their competence and training to ensure that they are appropriately experienced.
The audit will also review whether all of the water systems are included in the Legionella plan. If only the largest or most active elements of the water system are being treated or tested for Legionella on a regular basis, the cooling tower may not be compliant with regulations.
One of the most important factors considered during an audit is that a water management and treatment plan is in place specifically for Legionella, and that it is working.
For this reason, building owners and managers should keep detailed records of their effective control over Legionella and their means of stopping its proliferation.
Why an Independent Party Should Conduct the Audit
For many reasons, an independent party should be the one to not only conduct the audit but also regularly service the cooling tower in regards to Legionella.
Part of the audit will include a review of the qualifications for involved parties, which means that this type of testing and assessment is not something that just any employee can do.
Similarly, an independent review can offer unbiased and comprehensive insights into both the strengths and risks in your system so that you can develop a robust strategy for conquering Legionella before it ever becomes an issue.
And thanks to industry-specific tools and connections to valuable laboratories and other resources, an independent party dealing with your facility’s Legionella issues can provide valuable insight and comprehensive testing that leaves nothing to chance or uncertainty.
Work with Legionella Compliance and Treatment Experts
Whether you would like to establish a Legionella strategy for the first time or need to undergo an audit in order to comply with local or state regulations, be sure to work with experts you can trust.
The professionals at Tower Water would be happy to examine the unique strengths and weaknesses of your water system and cooling tower equipment to pinpoint areas of risk and improvement.
Reach out to schedule an evaluation with a water treatment technician to stay compliant and keep those in the vicinity of your cooling tower safe and healthy.