If you are concerned that you may have Legionella in your water, or if you would like to establish a plan for preventing Legionella going forward, you may be wondering how to keep your water system safe from this microbe. As a potentially deadly bacterium, Legionella poses health risks to humans, so it is important that you consider how to kill any Legionella bacteria in your water.
What Is Legionella Bacteria?
Legionella is a type of bacteria that thrives in freshwater. That means that it can enter the water systems that humans rely on through a number of vectors, such as cracks in pipes, rain drippage, and dirty machinery. This microbe is harmful to people, because it can cause a number of illnesses. While Pontiac fever resembles the flu and tends to be mild, with only diarrhea, muscle aches, fever, headaches, and nausea as symptoms, the bacteria’s namesake Legionnaires’ disease is much more dangerous.
Legionnaires’ disease can cause severe inflammation of the lungs, leading to pneumonia that is fatal in up to 10% of the individuals who are affected by the bacteria. Symptoms may not occur for days after exposure. Legionella infects humans through airborne droplets or vapor that are inhaled or come in contact with the mucous membranes in the eyes, nose, and mouth. This may occur wherever water is turned to mist or aerosolized, such as in cooling towers, hot tubs, showers, flushed toilets, and humidifiers.
What Effectively Kills Legionella Bacteria?
Legionella bacteria is hardy, but it is not impossible to get rid of. By working with a skilled Legionella compliance expert or water treatment technician, you can create a plan to rid your water system of existing Legionella and prevent the bacteria from ever surfacing in the future.
Water System Maintenance and Disinfection
One of the most important steps you can take to reduce the chances of illness due to Legionella bacteria is to carefully maintain and disinfect your water systems. Legionella thrive in lukewarm water, which is why hot tubs and cooling towers that do not keep the water hot enough are common breeding grounds. Be sure that you keep your water at the appropriate temperature; if you are using a water heater, do not turn it down below 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is also important that you make sure your water is treated and that your system is functioning well. Chemicals like chlorine are effective at killing Legionella bacteria, but they must be used responsibly and at the correct ratios. A professional can help you to measure what ratio you should use.
Additionally, your water system and equipment may be contributing to the growth of Legionella. Dead legs where water does not regularly exchange or corroded pipes can harbor Legionella that are protected from the treatments being used on the main water line, so you should review the state of your entire water systems to ensure that your maintenance is effective.
Equip Water Collection Sumps
A sump is a low area that collects undesired water. If you have sumps in your building, it is best to equip them with drains and keep them clean and washed so that Legionella do not have a chance to grow. The water temperature in a sump should be kept low; the exact temperature that you will need depends upon the design of the machinery you are using, the heat load currently at play, and the flow rate of the water, among many other considerations.
Reach Out to an Experienced Legionella Compliance Company
As you consider what you can do to reduce your facility’s risks of a Legionella outbreak, understand that just because no one has gotten sick does not mean that your water system is not harboring Legionella. You need to take proactive action to ensure that the people visiting your location are safe and healthy. With proper planning, Legionella may not ever become a risk for you.
If you have never considered a Legionella strategy because the bacteria has never been a problem, there is no better time to start than right now. Get in touch with a skilled water treatment expert who can review your individual system and make personalized recommendations for how to prevent the growth and spread of Legionella. Simple chemical treatments or repairs may be sufficient to reduce your risk, or you may need to consider other options. A skilled technician can guide you through these considerations.
Reach out to schedule an appointment with a water treatment expert. The pros at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to create a plan with you after examining the entirety of your water system. Never worry about Legionella thanks to the robust plan that you have created alongside a water treatment expert.