Legionella can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in building water systems like shower heads and sinks
According to the centre for disease control, legionella is a type of bacteria found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams.
It can become a health concern when it grows and spreads in building water systems like shower heads and sinks.
Sporting clubs are advised to implement simple, proportionate and appropriate control measures to ensure the risk of legionella remains low.
For hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria is minimised i.e. keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving.
Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to legionella include
- flushing out the system on a regular basis;
- avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid);
- setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C);
- making sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.
It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods.
As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation.
To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods.