If your building has been the center of a Legionella outbreak, you already have a lot of things on your mind. From dealing with the reporting and treatment requirements to managing your finances while the building is closed, Legionella is taking up a large portion of your mental bandwidth right now.
Reopening A Building After A Legionella Outbreak
It is important that you thoroughly tackle the Legionella issue before you rush to reopen, however, as failure to adequately address the outbreak can put people in danger.
Furthermore, your building may have begun to experience additional issues during closure that will affect your reopening after a Legionella outbreak. Before you open your doors again, consider the following points to make sure they have been adequately addressed.
Step Number One: Address Any Penalties
The first step in any Legionella outbreak situation is to report the event according to regulations. If you have been assigned penalties such as fines or a deadline before which to complete remediation work, this is your first priority.
You will not be allowed to reopen or begin using the affected equipment again until you have tackled the specific requirements given to you after reporting. Failure to comply in a timely manner with the state or city’s fines and penalties can result in more severe consequences.
Do Not Reopen Until the Situation Is Controlled
Once you have begun to implement a remediation plan in your building, it may be tempting to reopen again since the presence of Legionella should be decreasing by the minute. However, it is vital that you perform rigorous checks and reevaluate your water management plan before you allow anyone back into the building.
Your water treatment may not be performing at the level that you expect, additional unforeseen challenges could arise or you may discover that your water management strategy is not sufficient to bring the Legionella back under control. Until you have definitive proof that the Legionella presence has been reduced to 0 colony forming units per mL, you should remain closed.
New Issues May Have Appeared During Closing
One of the biggest impacts on your building that you should know before you reopen is that a Legionella outbreak can have wider effects than just Legionella bacteria themselves. When a building is closed and not performing its regular operations, it runs the risk of new issues arising, such as mold.
Mold and excess moisture can build up for a variety of reasons, from the need to disassemble parts of the water system in order to conduct Legionella treatment to less atmospheric control while people are gone.
Keep humidity under 50%, and perform checks weekly for mold growing in the building and especially around vulnerable systems such as the HVAC unit and its filters. Mold is not only unsightly but can be dangerous, even for those without allergic reactions to it.
In a similar vein, when a building is closed and not in use, its water stagnates. This can affect the chemical composition of the water and how any existing water treatment chemicals are passed through the system. Stagnating water will eat up any control chemicals in place in the water to protect against copper and lead, making the water more corrosive than before.
This can damage your pipes and even impact potable water. Be sure that before you reopen after a Legionella outbreak, you thoroughly flush your water system to ensure that your water treatment is reaching all areas. It is also wise to have the system reevaluated for new weak points and corrosion that may have opened while the building was out of service.
While your building is closed, it is a good time to perform some general maintenance, such as cleaning or replacing your water filters and HVAC filters, cleaning aerators, testing your water for lead and other unwanted substances and rethinking your water management plan.
Work With The Expert To Get Back To Business After A Legionella Outbreak
If you have experienced a Legionella outbreak at your building, making sure that you return to compliance and get your facility up and running again can be a challenge.
That is why it is wise to work with an experienced Legionella prevention expert who can not only advise you on how to remain in compliance with regulations but also can evaluate your system and identify how to prevent outbreaks from occurring in the future.
Closing down your building costs you time and money, but Legionella does not need to impact you in this way. The pros at Tower Water would be happy to help you create a robust water treatment plan against Legionella and other dangers. Reach out to schedule an appointment today.