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     ALcontrol Labs

    Current Legionella Control Certificate of Registration

     

    FAQ

    Q: What is Legionnaires' disease?

    A: Legionnaires' disease is a potentially fatal pneumonia caused by Legionella bacteria. It is the most well-known and serious form of a group of diseases known as Legionellosis. Other similar (but usually less serious) conditions include Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever.


    Q: How can you catch Legionnaires'' disease?

    A: Infection is caused by breathing in small droplets of water contaminated by the bacteria. The disease cannot be passed from one person to another.


    Q: Who can catch it?

     

    A: Everyone is potentially susceptible to infection but some people are at higher risk eg those over 45 years of age, smokers and heavy drinkers, those suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease, and other people whose immune system is impaired.


    Q: Where is Legionella found?

    A: Legionella bacteria are common in natural water courses such as rivers and ponds. Since Legionella are widespread in the environment, they may contaminate and grow in other water systems such as cooling towers and hot and cold water services. They survive low temperatures and thrive at temperatures between 25C / 45C if the conditions are right, eg if a supply of nutrients is present such as rust, sludge, scale, algae and other bacteria.


    Q: Why do we need to look at our water systems?

    A: Once the water has left the Water Company’s main and past the boundary the responsibility for the water then passes to the owner or operator of that building.


    Q: What happens if we don’t?

    A: If the owner or operator of that building does not look after the water systems. They will deteriorate and may lead to areas were the bacteria including Legionella will multiply. If this in turn leads to a Legionella outbreak the owners or the operators will be liable to prosecution.


     

    Q: What do I have to do to comply with the law?

    A: Legionella bacteria can multiply in hot or cold water systems and storage tanks, and then be spread, eg in spray from showers and taps. Although the generally high throughput and relatively low volume of water held in smaller water systems reduces the likelihood of bacteria reaching dangerous concentrations, you must still carry out a risk assessment to identify and assess potential sources of exposure. You must then introduce a course of action to prevent or control any risk you have identified


     

    Q: What do I have to do about Legionella?

    A: Under the Health and Safety at work etc Act 1974 you have a duty to consider the risks from Legionella that may affect people in your care. The Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1994 say that you must assess the risks to all staff and patients from bacteria like Legionella and take suitable precautions.


     

    Q: How can I control the risk from exposure?

    A: Precautions should, where appropriate, include the following: 
    controlling the release of water spray; 
    avoidance of water temperatures and conditions that favour the proliferation of Legionella bacteria and other micro-organisms; 
    avoidance of water stagnation; 
    avoidance of the use of materials that harbour bacteria and other micro-organisms, or provide nutrients for microbial growth; 
    maintenance of the cleanliness of the system and the water in it; and use of water treatment techniques.


     

    Q: What water treatment methods can I use?

    A: In hot and cold water systems Legionella has traditionally been controlled by storing hot water above 60C and distributing it at above 50C and keeping cold water below 20C if possible. Other methods which are used include chlorine dioxide spray and sodium hypochlorite