We all want clean and safe water when we turn on the tap. However, keeping water supply systems safe can be daunting. Underground water infrastructure can become outdated, and newer versions featuring lower flow rates can keep water in pipes for extended periods. Both external and internal factors can lead to Legionella growth in building water systems. Opportunistic premise plumbing pathogens (OPPS) are the main cause of waterborne disease in the UK. Legionella pneumonia, a type of OPPP, can grow in water supply systems and cause Legionnaire’s disease.
Legionella are naturally occurring bacteria present in natural aquatic environments like lakes, rivers and water reservoirs. They are not visible to the naked eye.
In low levels, the bacteria does not lead to disease. Legionella can however multiply to dangerous levels and potentially cause Legionellosis under certain conditions in artificial water systems like hot and cold-water systems, and spa pools. The bacteria grows in water systems at temperatures of 20-50°C and an optimum pH of 5.0-8.5.
People with weakened immune systems and underlying illness are most susceptible to Legionella infections. Make no mistake; even if you’re healthy, you or your tenants are at risk of contracting the disease as well.
Key elements that promote the development of Legionella bacteria in a commercial building water supply system include:
Cross-connections between potable and non-potable water
Lukewarm water temperatures
Excessive water age
Inadequate corrosion control
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There is no known safe level of Legionella in commercial building water systems. Cases of Legionnaire’s disease, a severe form of pneumonia, have been reported even in water systems with very low levels of the bacteria. Studies show that the bacteria grows best in large, complex water systems that are not well-maintained.
According to the UK Regulations Section 3(2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA), if you rent out your commercial property, you have a legal responsibility to see that the health and safety of your tenants are well taken care of. You need to review your Legionella risk assessments every 2 years or under the following circumstances:
Availability of new guidance
Substantial changes to the water system
Changes to building use
If an outbreak of legionnaire’s disease occurs, the authorities will ask for evidence of risk assessment, monitoring and maintenance. Without compliance documents in place, you will be penalised by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Failure to meet with the obligatory compliance requirements may lead to prosecution and litigation
Unless you possess enough knowledge within your establishment to perform Legionella risk assessment and to create and implement a viable scheme of control and monitor its efficacy, you better leave Legionella works to the experts.
Lucky for you, MBMS can help you with Legionella risk assessment, treatment and compliance. We are proud to say we are always the first port of call for both domestic and commercial Legionella works clients right across the UK.
One of our experienced Legionella risk assessors will monitor water quality parameters in your commercial building in full, to ensure that your building water systems are operating in a manner to reduce hazardous conditions that could cause Legionella and other waterborne pathogens to thrive. Assessment includes scrutinising temperature and disinfectant levels. We will then compile a full report with recommendations. If we find that a control limit is not being met, we will take the appropriate corrective actions to return the conditions to within a safe range.
Here are some of the Legionella Works we provide:
Installing and maintaining drift eliminators to minimise dissemination of aerosols from cooling towers
Scheduled cleaning, disinfection and maintenance of cooling towers
Regular addition of biocides
Minimising water stagnation by flushing unused taps in commercial buildings
Whatever your project, we are ready to provide a tailored, seamless and first-class service that exceeds your legionella works needs on every level. If you are interested to learn more about how we can work with you, please do not hesitate to Get In Touch!