Unusual places for Legionella to be found

You may have heard about Legionella bacteria being found in cooling towers, showers and spa pools but Legionella can be found in many varied places. This short article is meant to give you pause for thought when you are considering your Legionella management plan and to prompt you to take a wider look at your site for potential sources.

Any water system should be risk assessed and if necessary a written scheme of control measures created so that you can control the risk associated with it, well here are a few systems worth considering.

  1. Baptismal Font, a few years ago Legionella was found in a baptismal font in the USA which required the font to be remediated and cleaned.
  2. Bags of compost, opening a bag of compost can generate an aerosol and one particular species, Legionella longbeachae, is known to live in moist soils and compost. So be careful when you are gardening, always wear gloves, a dust mask and wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking.
  3. Garden hose pipes, a gentleman in the UK dies after using his garden hose pipe in the Spring having left it attached to the household water supply and full of water all Winter.
  4. Car washes, not necessarily a hand wash car wash, though take note of the garden hose pipe example, but the automatic ones. These recirculate water and recently someone died after using one of these car washes.
  5. Beach shower, how often are they used and is the water stagnant? Hopefully the organisation responsible for them flushes them regularly, even in winter, to ensure they keep stagnant water to a minimum but are they cleaned and descaled quarterly (or more frequently if necessary?)
  6. Boats and ships have many water sources if they visit various ports, but what is the bunkered water quality and then how do ships keep their water systems clean on board? Water walls and decorative fountains on board can be a risk too.
  7. Sports pitches, golf courses and Horse racing tracks all spray water onto the grass but how do they ensure the water doesn’t contain Legionella, adding a biocide may not be practical if there is a danger the biocide will kill the grass.
  8. Fire suppression systems if they have sprinklers and a bulk water tank could be a risk if the sprinklers activate.

There are many more types of systems that may be a risk that you have not considered. Discussions with Collaton Consultancy Limited can help you identify where you should carry out a risk assessment and what practical measures may be reasonable to take.

For more information contact Collaton Consultancy Limited on general@collatonconsultancy.com.

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