Legionella Control in Water Systems
Legionnaires’ disease or Legionellosis is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. People may get infected when they breathe in tiny water droplets (aerosols) or droplet nuclei (particles left after the water has evaporated) contaminated with elevated concentrations of Legionella bacteria.
Legionella bacteria grow best between temperatures of 20°C – 45°C, with optimum growth temperature being 35°C – 40°C. High temperatures (minimum 60°C) usually kill the bacteria.
Legionella bacteria are found in low numbers in natural aquatic environments, for instance, lakes, rivers and ground water. As a result, it is virtually impossible to prevent Legionella bacteria entering man-made water systems.
In low numbers the bacteria are generally considered harmless. With the correct conditions, for example, warm water, the presence of micro-organisms and nutrients in the water or materials such as rust, these bacteria can grow and multiply to high levels which increase the risk of exposure.
The bacteria tend to grow in biofilms (slime). Biofilms are likely to form on surfaces where there is low water flow or water is allowed to stagnate. However the growth of Legionella bacteria can be controlled.
As a buildings/facilities manager or Responsible Person, you have clear responsibilities around the control of Legionella bacteria in your water systems. Specifically, you MUST:
- Identify and assess sources of risk using competent help and advice;
- Prepare a scheme for preventing or controlling the risk;
- Implement, manage and monitor precautions;
- Keep records of the precautions;
- Appoint a person to be managerially responsible.
HBE is audited by and a certified member of the Legionella Control Association across the UK and Ireland. We provide the following services to help the building manager to discharge their duties and obligations relating to the control of legionella bacteria in water systems:
Legionella Risk Assessments
- Work is undertaken by highly qualified consultants
- Schematic drawings are always used
- Priority of Risk
- Soft and hard copies of Risk Assessments are produced
- Risk Assessment access & management 24/7 through our Compliance Management Software System, HBE manager
Remedial Actions (see Water hygiene page for more details)
- Clean & disinfection of domestic hot & cold water systems, CWSTs (old or new)
- Clean & disinfection of new mains pipework and reservoirs
- Tank replacement programmes
- Tank refurbishment and relining programmes
- Pre-commission cleaning of pipework
Sampling, Flushing and Monitoring Programmes
- Treatment and monitoring of closed circuits
- Showerhead cleaning programmes
- Deadleg flushing programmes
- On-line dosing systems
- Provision of either hard copy or electronic logbooks
- Provision of technicians to carry out sentinel temperature monitoring & logbook maintenance
- Remote temperature testing and remote flushing technology specialists
- Bar-coding of outlets
- Legionella, Pseudomonas and microbiological sampling programmes.
For more information about Legionella Risk Assessments and advice on how to implement a Legionella Management programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call LoCall 0333 207 5744 / 1890 201018 from Ireland.
The Legislation & Guidelines for Legionella Control
We adhere to and utilise the following documents, when devising legionella control programmes:
UK Legionella related legislation & guidance
- Health & Safety at Work etc Act 1974
- The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 as amended 2003 & 2006
- The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 as amended 2003 & 2004
- The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992
- TM 13:2013 CIBSE Technical Memorandum – Minimising the risk of Legionnaires’ Disease
- HSE document L8 – Legionnaires’ Disease, The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems: Approved Code of Practice (ACoP) and Guidance (Version 4)
- HSG274 Part 1 – The control of legionella bacteria in evaporative cooling systems
- HSG274 Part 2 – The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems
- HSG274 Part 3 – The control of legionella bacteria in other risk systems.
- HSG220 – Health & Safety in Care Homes (June 2014)
- HSG 282 The control of legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems
- HTM 04-01 – The control of Legionella, hygiene, “safe” hot water, cold water and drinking water systems
- Scottish Health Technical Memorandum SHTM 04-01: Water safety for healthcare premises Part A Design, installation and testing, Part B Operational management.
- The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations 2010
- The Water Supplies (Water Quality) (Scotland) Regulations 2011
- The Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999
- BS 8580:2010 Water quality. Risk assessments for legionella control. Code of Practice
- BS 8558:2015 – Guide to the design, installation, testing and maintenance of services supplying water for domestic use within buildings and their curtilages.
- BS 8554:2015 – Code of practice for the sampling and monitoring of hot and cold water services in buildings
- BS 7592:2008 Sampling for legionella bacteria in water systems – code of practice
- BS PD 855468:2015 – Guide to the flushing and disinfection of services supplying water for domestic use within buildings and their curtilages
- WMSoc Guidance Documents.
Republic of Ireland Legionella related legislation
- Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 (S.I. No. 10 of 2005)
- Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 299 of 2007)
- Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Biological Agents) Regulations 2013 (S.I. No. 572 of 2013)
- Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001, as amended in 1998 (S.I. No. 619 of 2001)
- The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Reporting of Accidents and Dangerous Occurrences) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 370 of 2016)
- National Guidelines for the Control of Legionellosis in Ireland. Published by Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), 2009.
Northern Ireland Legionella related legislation
- Health & Safety at Work Order (NI) 1978 (as amended 2000)
- Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations (NI) 2000 as amended 2003 & 2006
- Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (NI) 2003 as amended 2005
- The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations 1992.
*All reports are issued by the Group Administration Head Office in Newry.
Failures identified by the HSE during an investigation into a Council's water hygiene control measures failings concluded that in-house Council staff were inadequately trained to deliver the service to a satisfactory standard over a 10 year period.
A West Sussex Council has been issued with a regulatory notice for failing to assess fire and water hygiene risks in properties it is responsible for maintaining.
A popular Nuneaton sports club has closed its doors for refurbishment works following a cricket match where two players contracted Legionnaires' disease.
A well known Wolverhampton Hotel has closed its bedroom service after The City of Wolverhampton Council served a prohibition notice following concerns related to the hotel's water management system.
Data released by Irish Health authorities highlight the growing number of Legionnaires’ disease cases in Ireland, with a record level of the potentially fatal infections notified last year.