Legionella testing is an important part of owning and maintaining a building, whether or not the facility relies on a cooling tower. Any freshwater source that produces vapor, mist or aerosolized water, from decorative fountains to hot tubs and even showerheads, can be home to Legionella bacteria. While regular testing should be included in the maintenance of a building, some specific situations require emergency Legionella testing that must be conducted immediately and comprehensively in order to keep all of the people in the vicinity safe.
Is Emergency Legionella Testing Different From Compliance Testing?
Emergency Legionella testing is not the same thing as compliance testing. Regular compliance testing is required by the state of New York (and many other states as well) in order to catch Legionella early before it has the chance to proliferate and become a massive issue. However, once legionella is discovered, more extensive measures need to be taken, usually some type of remediation. Retesting is referred to as emergency legionella testing because a particular issue was noticed and one cannot wait for the next routine test.
Test When Sampling Indicates An Issue
Any time that you take a sample and it shows that Legionella is present in your system, you should immediately pursue further testing. Even if you do not find evidence of Legionella in clusters greater than 1,000 CFU/mL (colony-forming units of Legionella per milliliter) at the time of testing, it is important that you begin further emergency procedures immediately, before the issue becomes exponentially worse. Not only can Legionella proliferate quickly in freshwater, but they can benefit from the shelter provided by corrosion and biofilms in your system; even if you treat the water, it is important to follow-up with emergency testing until the issue is resolved. One strong benefit of sampling is that the most reliable Legionella testing companies do not just use immediate onsite sampling equipment; they also rely on the expertise of a dedicated lab that can analyze the sample and provide critical information, such as the type of Legionella bacteria you are faced with. This enables a more comprehensive depiction of the risk at hand and an effective elimination plan.
Test When Individuals Show Symptoms
It is critical to undergo emergency testing for Legionella including typing and DNA whenever any individual begins to show symptoms of infection. It is important to know whether or not the Legionella actually came from the facility’s water systems. Legionella can be transmitted to humans through water droplets in the air that are then breathed in or absorbed through mucous membranes. Once inside the body, Legionella can cause a variety of illnesses, including Pontiac fever and the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease. If any person in your building is showing signs of Legionella infection, such as shortness of breath, fever, nausea, coughing or abdominal pain, your first step should be to ensure that they seek immediate medical attention. Legionnaires’ disease can be deadly in as many as 10% of the people who fall ill with it. Next, you should order emergency Legionella testing so that you can begin managing the outbreak and keep as many people safe as possible.
Regularly Maintain A Testing Schedule To Avoid Emergencies
One of the best methods of ensuring that you will not be calling for emergency Legionella testing regularly is to maintain a consistent testing schedule. While some emergency tests may be needed from time to time to verify that the system is safe, a consistent routine can keep your facility on top of any Legionella proliferation while it is still easily treated. The generally accepted timeline for a robust testing schedule is every quarter, or, on average, every 90 days. This will not only help to ensure that the water in your building is free from Legionella regularly but also keep you in compliance with New York’s requirements for regular Legionella testing. You must report excessive Legionella in your water to the state; however, you can avoid many Legionella problems before they begin by performing testing more frequently than the minimum required.
Work With The Legionella Testing Experts
Whether you would like to undergo your regularly scheduled Legionella testing or you believe that you may have a budding emergency that requires decisive action, be sure to rely on Legionella testing experts who understand how to comprehensively and effectively sample your system. The professionals at Tower Water would be happy to perform routine or an emergency test on your water to gauge the level of Legionella and advise you on the appropriate next steps. From developing a robust testing and risk management plan going forward to containing a Legionella outbreak, TW can help. Reach out to schedule an appointment with a skilled expert who can visit you on-site to examine the unique risk factors of your system and even take a sample to test for Legionella if requested.