Legionella FAQs from Legionella Specialists

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Legionella FAQs

At H2O Comply, we understand the importance of water hygiene and preventing Legionella from contaminating your water tanks. Below we’ve answered some Legionella FAQs to offer some guidance, and protect your health. 

microscopic Legionella bacteria | legionella risk assessmentLegionella is a type of bacteria that can be found naturally in freshwater environments, such as lakes and rivers, as well as in human-made water systems, such as cooling towers, hot tubs, and plumbing systems. 

Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria, most commonly Legionella pneumophila. Legionella is the name of the bacteria that can cause Legionnaires’ disease as well as a milder flu-like illness. 

Legionella bacteria can be introduced to a water system through various means, such as from the natural environment, incoming water, or contaminated materials.

The growth and spread of Legionella bacteria can be encouraged by factors such as warm water temperatures, stagnant water, low disinfectant levels, and the presence of biofilm or other organic matter in the water system.

Water temperatures between 20°C and 45°C (68°F to 113°F) are particularly conducive to Legionella growth, and these temperatures are often found in building water systems, such as hot water tanks, cooling towers, and plumbing systems.

Legionella bacteria are killed at temperatures above 60°C (140°F) and are therefore not able to survive in hot water systems that are maintained at this temperature or higher. At temperatures between 50°C (122°F) and 60°C (140°F), Legionella bacteria can survive but do not multiply.

No, Legionnaires’ disease is not contagious and cannot be spread from person to person. It is caused by inhaling Legionella bacteria in water droplets that are contaminated with the bacteria. These contaminated water droplets can be released into the air from sources such as cooling towers, hot tubs, showers, and fountains.

People who are at higher risk of contracting Legionnaires’ disease include those who are older, have weakened immune systems, or have underlying medical conditions such as chronic lung disease.

L8 assessment refers to a risk assessment that is carried out to identify and evaluate the risks associated with the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria in a water system. The L8 assessment is named after the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Approved Code of Practice and Guidance document “Legionnaires’ disease: The control of legionella bacteria in water systems,” which provides guidance on controlling the risks of Legionella bacteria in water systems.

The L8 assessment involves a thorough evaluation of the water system, including its design, construction, and operation, to identify potential sources of Legionella bacteria growth and spread. The assessment considers factors such as water temperature, flow rate, and the presence of biofilms or other organic matter that can provide a favorable environment for Legionella bacteria to grow.

lab testing water sample | legionella risk assessmentTo test for the presence of Legionella bacteria in a water system, you can collect a water sample and send it to a laboratory that specializes in Legionella testing. The laboratory can perform a culture test, PCR test, or immunological test to detect the presence of Legionella bacteria in the sample.

Yes, in the UK, a Legionella risk assessment is a legal requirement under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 (COSHH). The responsible person or duty holder, such as an employer or landlord, is required to assess the risks associated with Legionella bacteria in the water system and implement appropriate control measures to prevent or minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. 

The duration of a Legionella risk assessment depends on various factors such as the complexity of the water system, the level of risk identified, and the control measures implemented.

A Legionella risk assessment should be reviewed regularly, typically at least every two years, or whenever there is a significant change to the water system or its use.

To prevent Legionella growth:

  1. Keep water systems clean and free of biofilm.
  2. Maintain appropriate temperatures for hot and cold water.
  3. Ensure proper disinfection and maintenance of cooling towers and other water systems.
  4. Minimize stagnant water by regularly flushing unused water outlets.
  5. Train staff on Legionella prevention measures.

The symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease include:

  1. High fever
  2. Chills
  3. Cough
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Muscle aches
  6. Headaches
  7. Fatigue
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Symptoms usually appear within 2-10 days of exposure to Legionella bacteria and can range from mild to severe, sometimes leading to pneumonia and other complications. If you suspect you have been exposed to Legionella or are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

Need help with your Legionella services in Kent?
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Why use H2O Comply for your Legionella services in Kent?

When engaging H2O Comply to look after your system you can rest assured that you have made the best choice. Our mechanical engineers & plumbers are all fully qualified and undergo regular, comprehensive training. 

We provide an industry-leading service that is environmentally sound and help our clients to be free from the risks of potential leaks or excessive chemical usage. Our team of specialists have an unrivalled level of technical knowledge and many years proven experience.

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We aim to send the same consultants or engineers to your site – so they will best understand your system layout and operational procedures.

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Our clients can call for free advice & support. Our company is based on the belief that your needs are of the utmost importance. 

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We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service and expertise in the industry.

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