Temperature and the Risk of Legionella
Posted on 21st July 2022
Ice cream, beer gardens and sunscreen are usually the first things that come to mind when summer hits us but don't forget to think about the increased Legionella danger from your water systems. A known contributing factor to the rise in legionnaires' disease cases is the lengthier, warmer, and wetter summers.
How does temperature impact Legionella bacteria's ability to grow?
Legionella bacteria flourish between 20 and 45 degrees Celsius, go dormant below 20 degrees Celsius, and quickly perish around 60 degrees Celsius. The main strategy for preventing legionella growth in our water systems is the temperature (although other methods using chemicals are also widely used). Any cold water that is held (in tanks or pipes) is more likely to warm up above 20 C in warmer weather or in situations where water use is lower than usual. Bacteria may begin to proliferate exponentially where this occurs.
The "causal chain" refers to the key causes of increased Legionella risk in any water system.
• CONTAMINATION - Bacteria are present in incoming water and thrive in artificial water systems due to the favourable conditions for growth.
• AMPLIFICATION - Bacteria multiply to high levels.
• AEROSOLISATION - The release of bacteria in an aerosol (e.g. fine spray from taps, showers or hoses)
• EXPOSURE - The person is then exposed to the bacteria and breathes it into their lungs.
How can we break the pattern while still complying?
The most popular method for reducing the risk of Legionella bacteria is temperature. Keeping the cold water cold is crucial to breaking the causal cycle. Remember these five procedures for operating a safe water system and complying with regulations:
• Keep hot water hot.
• Keep cold water.
• Keep it clean
• Keep it moving
• Record all actions
What are we expected to do?
Consider boosting your flushing schedule in hot weather by flushing more frequently for longer periods of time and using all of your cold water outlets. Additionally, remember to continue with your regular Legionella management procedures.
If you have any questions please call our friendly team of experts on 0800 121 8808 or click here!
Tagged as: Aylesbury, bedfordshire, buckinghamshire, Bucks, GES Water, hertfordshire, Legionella, legionella risk assessment, Legionella Tech, summer, temperature, waterhygiene, Waterquality, watersampling, watersystem
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