Legionella Testing in Newcastle and the North East
What is Legionella and how can it affect us.
Legionellosis is the collective name given to the pneumonia-like illness caused by legionella bacteria. This includes the most serious Legionnaires ’ disease, as well as the similar but less people over 45 years of age serious conditions of Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever. Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia and everyone is susceptible to infection. However, some people are at higher risk, including:
• smokers and heavy drinkers
• people suffering from chronic respiratory or kidney disease
• anyone with an impaired immune system
• The elderly
The HSE recommends legionella testing in the following circumstances:
• At least every 3 months for cooling towers
• In water systems treated with biocides where the storage/distribution temperatures have been deliberately reduced.
• In systems where control levels of the treatment regime (eg temperature or biocide levels) are not being consistently achieved.
• When an outbreak is suspected or has been identified.
• Specific hospital wards with 'at risk' patients - eg those immunologically compromised.
How the Infection can spread
Most people become infected when they inhale microscopic water droplets containing legionella bacteria. This might be the spray from a shower, faucet or whirlpool, or water dispersed through the ventilation system in a large building. Outbreaks have been linked to a range of sources, including:
• Hot tubs and whirlpools on cruise ships
• Cooling towers in air conditioning systems
• Decorative fountains
• Swimming pools
• Physical therapy equipment
• Water systems in hotels, hospitals and nursing homes
Why is It Important to test for Legionella
If you don't look after your water and someone becomes ill, prosecutions would be pursued under the Health and Safety at Work regulations or the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.
Most companies carry out regular legionella testing to confirm that their maintenance regimes are working.
What can be done to prevent Legionella?
The best way to prevent an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease is to ensure any water system under your control is properly maintained and conforms to relevant health and safety regulations.
The two most important factors for preventing an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease are:
• temperature – any water in the system should either be cooled to below 20ºC (68ºF) or heated to above 60ºC (140ºF)
• hygiene – the water should be kept free of any impurities and never allowed to stagnate (lose its freshness from not moving)
If you are an employer or a private landlord, you have a legal duty to ensure all water systems in your premises are properly operated and maintained to prevent Legionnaires' disease or any other type of water-borne infection.
Testing for legionella
A member of our team will visit your place of work and collect water samples from various outlet sources. The samples will then be taken away, analysed and tested for legionella in accordance with ISO 11731:1998. All water samples will be tested In a UKAS-accredited laboratory.
Once you have been supplied with the results and there is no evidence of legionella, we will issue a full report of the analytical data and supply you with a certificate of safety and compliance.
From this report, you will be able to:
• Implement, manage and monitor precautions - if control measures are to remain effective, then regular monitoring of the systems and the control measures is essential. Monitoring of general bacterial numbers can indicate whether microbiological control is being achieved. Sampling for legionella is another means of checking that a system is under control.
• Keep records of the precautions.
• Appoint a person to be managerially responsible.
Call us now to arrange a Legionella test or click “Get a quote”