How universities can ensure Legionella outbreaks stay away from their premises

Legionnaires’ disease is a very real concern for many universities, especially with the outbreaks that happened in recent times, which could have been prevented. There are many ways to reduce these risks associated with Legionella in schools and universities and you can find many experts in the control, management and prevention of Legionella who can help you achieve compliance. Such experts can also help you by implementing periodically a Legionella risk assessment so that you can know where you stand. There are six quick things you can do to prevent the growth of Legionella in the water system of your educational centre.

One: controlling temperature

This is definitely one of the most efficient ways to control Legionella as well as meeting the legal duties under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974.

Below you can find a quick overview of the temperatures water needs to be stored and distributed at:

  • Water that is stored in a hot water tank or storage cylinder needs to be 60⁰C or higher.
  • Hot water that is distributed needs to be at 50⁰C or higher.
  • Water that is cold needs to be stored and distributed below 20⁰C.

Be careful not to take the temperature too high, since this could result in scalding and also very high energy bills.

Two: stagnant water

Stagnant water presents the ideal breeding ground for Legionella growth. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to remove dead ends in pipe-work and flush outlets that are not being used frequently. This includes showerheads and taps.

Three: cleaning and maintaining

It is vital to develop a plan of action to make sure that you are doing everything possible to proactively prevent Legionella growth. Cleaning and ongoing maintenance are an essential part of this, and as such it is important that outlets that are rarely used are flushed weekly (at least), cold water tanks are cleaned regularly and hot water cylinders need to be drained and checked for signs of debris and corrosion. These are just a few ideas and suggestions that form part of a control scheme, which is required by the law.

Four: disinfectant amounts

When there is an actual decline in disinfectant levels in the water system, Legionella can potentially grow.  The water supply of your building may need long-term supplemental disinfectants added to the water tank in order to limit Legionella growth.

Five: maintaining and operating equipment

Operating and maintaining your building’s equipment efficiently will prevent biofilm from contaminating the water system, which can provide a habitat and ideal conditions for Legionella growth.

In case you are not sure on how to keep the equipment operating effectively, get in touch with qualified consultants to receive a professional diagnosis.

Six: keep monitoring external influences

Water main breaks, construction and changes in municipal water quality are some of the factors to consider when monitoring and tracking Legionella growth. Monitor these changes closely and identify how they could potentially affect the entire water system of your building.

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