Used to describe a piping configuration for a water distribution system where the flow has ceased, dead legs are sections of water piping systems that have been altered, capped or abandoned so that water can no longer flow through them. In this article, we take a closer look at dead legs, how they operate and how this can lead to stagnation and the potential growth of Legionella bacteria.
What Are Dead Legs?
As mentioned, dead legs are specific sections of your water piping system that have been capped, altered or abandoned to prevent the flow of water. Essentially; any valve that has been closed and is no longer connected to a fixture, appliance or piece of equipment, should be considered a dead leg. Dead legs are often intentionally fitted in the underground of major cities, residential buildings and hospitals to facilitate the future expansion of the current water system or provide options for future construction.
Where Would You Find Them?
Uncommon in domestic settings, it’s the commercial industries where dead legs are most frequent, such as in apartment complexes, hospitals, hotels and senior living centres among others, with particular prominence in buildings that undergo frequent remodelling, modernisation or other cosmetic or structural improvements. However, it’s the above facilities, in particular, that run the greatest risk of exposure to Legionnaire’s Disease. With Legionella common in dead legs it’s important you make every effort to remove them in commercial settings with a vulnerable population.
Why Remove Them?
As water finds its way inside your dead legs, it very quickly creates a stagnant condition in which bacteria and waterborne pathogens can grow and spread. One bacteria, in particular, known as Legionella, can be particularly harmful, with the inhalation of water droplets contaminated with this bacteria leading to the development of a condition known as Legionnaire’s Disease.
Reducing The Risk
Reducing the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is extremely important, and therefore you should consider removing any dead legs from your water system as soon as possible. Below are the essential steps you should take to identify and remove stagnant water in your dead legs.
● Identify any areas within your water system in which water is more likely to stagnate, such as your dead legs or in storage tanks.
● Remove dead legs and any unused equipment or water lines from the system.
● When installing your new piping, ensure a valve is installed as close to the main water pipe as possible to cut off the flow to the potential dead leg.
● When removing a fixture, turn off the valve at the main water pipe and open the fixture to remove standing water before capping the pipe.
At H2O Comply, we offer a wide range of plumbing related remedial works in-house, including water tank replacement and repair, back-flow prevention and dead leg removal, ensuring you can work with us from start to finish, instead of multiple contractors. We can carry out our remedial repairs in Rochester, London and throughout the South East of England. Contact us today.