Water quality and legionella management

Legionnaires disease occurs as a result of infections caused by the legionellaceae family of bacteria.

It is contracted by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in air which contain the legionella bacterium. Legionnaires bacteria occurs naturally in surface water and soils, but can also proliferate within man-made environments such as cooling towers, hot and cold distribution systems, water plant, humidifiers and air washers. Proliferation of the bacteria typically occurs between 20oC to 45oC and is assisted by the presence of suitable nutrients present in dirt, sludge and scale as well as conditions of poor water flow, stagnation or where dead legs occur in water systems.

Employers are required to control the risk of exposure to legionella bacteria in accordance with Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations. This is achieved by following the Approved Code of Practice L8 The Control of Legionella (Bacteria in Water Systems) In general these require the employer to conduct the following:

  • Identification & assessment of the risk
  • Prevention or minimisation of risk from exposure to Legionella
  • Systems for the management and selection, training and competence of personnel
  • Record keeping of maintenance, cleaning and disinfection

Water quality

Often taken for granted, water quality which is free of harm is essential to our everyday way of life. If not suitable it can bring about illness and with the presence of the legionella bacteria the results can be fatal.

To ensure water quality and compliance with Control of Legionella and Water Regulations, EFM has its own team of water engineers led by a water compliance manager. The team carries out monthly monitoring to all buildings with communal outlets and ensures temperatures are within recommended guidelines and water systems are at optimum performance levels. Each building is assessed for legionella compliance, defects that may affect water quality, schematic layout and a written scheme to ensure monitoring is carried out to the highest standard. To assist with maintaining safe water standards regular samples are taken and analysed by an independent laboratory.

Copies of assessment reports are available. Up-to-date records are maintained and are available on request for any of the University buildings.

Evan Fuller is the water complianace manager and can be contacted by email or telephone on 0114 222 9116 / 07766 071922