This article explains the importance of getting rid of legionella bacteria from water, what risks it has and how the testing process is carried out.

Legionella is a pathogenic bacterium that can be present in a number of different environments, including around the presence of water. Low levels are widely found in rivers and lakes, although they can sometimes creep into the water system and cause problems. Air con systems and cooling towers can become affected, as well as swimming pools and bathrooms. Within the right conditions, it can spread quickly and become very dangerous. Hotels and hospitals should be very careful, as their systems are more complex. It can sometimes be seen as a silver stain on showerheads and should be watched out for at all times. Regular cleaning with antibacterial products can help, but water testing for legionella should be carried out often, especially in hotels and public establishments or countries where it is most common.

H2O Nationwide carries out Legionella risk assessment to make sure your workplace water is safe. Legionella control is very important, as it can cause severe sickness and even death in people who catch Legionnaires’ disease from it. It is a type of pneumonia and can affect anyone, although is a higher risk to those at either end of the age spectrum, have an existing illness, poor immune system or smoke. It does not spread from person to person, although the bacteria can be a higher risk in a number of conditions, for example, if the temperature is between 20 and 45C, there is nutrients for it to survive on, such as rust, algae or scale, and if there is a method of breathable droplets being created like in a spa pool.

Symptoms of the disease can include a high temperature with a mix of chills and fever, a cough, muscle aches and headaches. If you think you have any or a combination of these symptoms, be sure to contact a doctor as soon as possible.

There are various testing kits that can be used to see if there is a presence of legionella. The swabs are then sent off to a lab to be checked. Dip slides, incubators, biocides and electronic site logbooks can all be used to help test and control the levels within water.