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27/08/2019

Bacteria & legionella in water - how to keep users safe

Bacteria & legionella in water - how to keep users safe

Minimising risk to users is without doubt the number one priority for specifiers and FMs when choosing new products or systems. This is certainly true when it comes to washroom systems which are used by high numbers of people on a daily basis. Although commercial drinking water systems are often the focus for safety, other water systems must not be overlooked.

 

A preventable disease

Although rare - with 110 confirmed cases between January and May of this year[1] - Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially fatal type of pneumonia, and is often very preventable.

Commonly found in water, legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease if airborne water droplets containing viable legionella bacteria are inhaled. Temperature is key in the prevention of Legionnaires’ disease. The legionella bacteria multiply where temperatures are between 20-45℃ and nutrients are available, equally the bacteria are dormant below 20℃ and cannot survive above 60℃.

 

Why standing water is a problem

As such, it’s vitally important that water delivery systems used in buildings such as hospitals and healthcare centres avoid using standing water which, once circulated through the building, can spread contamination.

This is also especially true when it comes to washroom products being used in large builds, whether that’s a healthcare centre, or indeed an office, hotel, restaurant or any other commercial environment. Not only do big buildings tend to be used by a high volume of people, but they are more vulnerable to legionella contamination because they have larger, more complex water supply systems in which the bacteria can quickly spread.

When legionella is allowed to grow unhindered in warm, wet, dark conditions, with a food source, it multiplies faster. Aerosolisation happens when the water that the legionella are growing in becomes microscopic water droplets - this can happen at a shower head or tap. Once the contaminated water is in this state it can be easily breathed in, causing serious illness.

 

How we can help

At Zip, we understand that legionella is a real risk for many buildings, and that specifiers are looking for easy ways to minimise this risk. With this in mind we have developed a number of product ranges designed to prevent legionella from becoming dangerous.

Our new Aquapoint IV is an efficient and durable wall-mounted hot water system suitable for a range of applications. Not only does it boast a range of capacities and ‘SmartEco’ mode for improved energy efficiency, but it also has an automatic anti-legionella function. If the water does not reach 65℃ for 14 consecutive days the product’s anti-legionella function will heat the water to 70℃ and maintain the temperature for 120 minutes, ensuring that any legionella bacteria that may have been in the product is sterilised.

In addition, InLine is a range of instantaneous electric hot water products and only heats water as it is drawn off, meaning there is no standing water. HSE document L8 states a low risk solution to Legionnaires’ disease-causing bacteria is to have hot water fed from an instantaneous water heater, making InLine an ideal system for sinks and showers in large institutions.

 

Please speak to us if legionella is a concern in your building or project, or view our hot water ranges here.



[1] Public Health England, Monthly Legionella Report May 2019

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