A popular Nuneaton sports club has closed its doors for refurbishment works following a cricket match where two players contracted Legionnaires’ disease.
Public Health England confirmed the source of the legionella bacteria as the club pavilion after samples taken by Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council officers came back positive. The Club Committee members have closed the facilities, disinfected the water system and employed specialist water contractors to investigate the boilers and pipework.
The learning points are that many venues experience variations in water turnover, such as changing room showers being used infrequently, which must be managed via flushing programmes. This is especially important with the record temperatures we’ve experienced this summer, when the ambient water temperature will be higher than normal.
Additionally, for energy conservation, many venues will be tempted to turn off water heaters until the venue is used, leaving the water warm and stagnant – a recipe for rapid legionella bacteria growth.
Many small venues don’t think that water hygiene management processes are relevant to them, however, as seen in this case, legionella bacteria given warm, stagnant water with a source of nutrients such as rust and sediment in water tanks or Calorifiers, is sufficient to create a risk.