If you have ever heard someone talk about Legionella, it may have prompted you to wonder if this water-based bacteria is an issue in your own building. Legionella is a bacteria found in freshwater that can spread to humans who come into contact with water or vapor that harbors the microbes. If you have reason to believe that you have Legionella in your water, it is important to take action quickly to avoid potentially dangerous outcomes.
The Harmful Factors Of Legionella
Legionella is not a harmless bacterium; it is responsible for a number of diseases, some of which can be potentially fatal in as many as 10% of those who are affected. The main illness tied to Legionella is Legionnaires’ disease, which presents as an advanced form of pneumonia and is characterized by shortness of breath, chills, fever, and body aches.
Legionella can also cause Pontiac fever, which closely resembles acute influenza (the flu). Symptoms arise as quickly as 24 hours after contact with Legionella and include headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and a loss of appetite.
In both cases, those who are older in age or immunocompromised are at the highest risk, but Legionella bacteria can quickly become dangerous for anyone. This is not a bacteria that can simply be ignored if you notice it in your water supply.
I Found Legionella In Water. What Do I Do Now?
If you have found that your water contains Legionella, the most important thing you can do is act quickly. Legionella will not resolve on its own, so the longer you wait, the more the bacteria are free to proliferate. Be sure to follow the correct procedure to quickly shut down the spread of Legionella bacteria and ensure the safety of all visitors or residents in your building.
Immediately Shut Off All Water
The first step after you have located Legionella bacteria in your water is to immediately shut off all water to the building. Turn off faucets and other supplies of drinking water, and be sure to consume only bottled water until a professional tells you that using the building’s potable water is safe again.
It is also important that you turn off the water to your plumbing, as the primary exposure method for Legionella is via the air. Flushing a toilet can vaporize small droplets of water and introduce them into the air you breathe.
Allow Professionals To Handle The Situation
Next, understand that Legionella is not an issue you can handle on your own. You will need to call an expert in Tower Water to review your system and take a survey of how Legionella is affecting your water and where it is growing. A skilled water treatment expert can review your water system and locate points of entry or proliferation for Legionella bacteria so that you know how to tackle the issue.
If a breach, such as a water main break, or new construction has introduced Legionella, you will need to address the problem before the bacteria can be removed; failing to do so will only allow a continued source of contaminants into your water. Once the culprit has been located, an expert in Legionella compliance can offer guidelines for treating the water and returning it to a safe state.
Conduct A Legionella Response Plan For Future Incidents
Just because you have dealt with Legionella once does not mean that it will not become an issue again in the future. Mitigating Legionella bacteria is an ongoing process, and it is important to develop and maintain a plan for your water system. This will ensure that you can act quickly in the event of a future incident, but it will also help reduce the risk of Legionella growth in your water system as long as you remain vigilant in your water treatment and care of your equipment.
Speak To A Qualified Legionella Compliance Expert
If you have found Legionella in your water, the task of getting rid of it and making your water safe again is not something that you should approach on your own. The government has regulations on the legal level of Legionella in water, and failure to comply can result in illness and even death, so it is critical that you work with a skilled Legionella compliance expert.
Tower Water would be happy to review your water system and offer personalized guidance on how to control the bacteria in your water. This will ensure that residents, staff, or visitors to your building remain safe and healthy while also keeping you in line with the government regulations concerning this water-borne bacteria. Reach out as soon as you suspect that you may have Legionella in your water to schedule a consultation and learn how to address the problem, reduce the risk of it happening again, and develop a robust plan of action for future incidents.