Why choose Electron Water Hygiene ?
Electron Water Hygiene Ltd is a forward thinking proactive company using the latest technologies and processes to prevent and treat air and water systems from corrosion and microbial attack. We care about our clients and their premises which is reflected from our air and water hygiene service. Electron business is built and continues to grow around our clients’ needs.
Our mission is to be the Air and Water Hygiene Specialist provider by choice, offering our clients excellence and good value.
Legionella Risk Assessment
If left unchecked, water systems can be compromised by biofilms and corrosion. Electron's long standing dedicated water management system known as ‘The Safeguard System’ can protect pipework from scale and microbial attack, saving you energy and additional maintenance costs.
Online Legionella Log Book
Electron now offer a tightly integrated ‘online’ information service, providing up to the minute feedback on clients’ work including: quotes, site visits, documents, contact details, order acknowledgements and much more...
Log Book 'Online'
Our facilities management software, can be upgraded to include Electron’s innovative Log Book that helps companies comply with the latest Health and Safety requirements such as: ACOP L8 - The control of Legionella bacteria in water systems.
What Is Legionella?
Legionella and Legionnaires Disease are micro bacteria that can be fatal in people with weakened or immunosuppressed systems, older people, smokers and those suffering from debilitating illnesses or sever chest complaints.
The bacteria responsible, Legionella pneumophila can be found in small quantities, occurring naturally in water sources such as lakes, rivers and reservoirs. It can also be present in the cooling towers of air-conditioning systems, evaporation condensers and whirlpool spas.
If the right environmental conditions are created then the Legionella bacteria will multiply and may reach dangerous levels. This increase in the Legionella bacteria can lead to epidemics and risk of susceptible people contracting Legionnaires Disease.
The first recognised case of Legionnaires disease happened in 1976 in Philadelphia when a mysterious outbreak of flu resulted in 221 members attending a meeting of the American Legion catching sever pneumonia and causing 34 deaths.
It has been found that men, particularly those that are middle aged or older, are more likely to contract Legionnaires Disease than women and that smokers or people with chest problems are also more at risk.
How do People catch Legionella?
The Legionella pneumophila bacteria are typically inhaled when suspended in tiny droplets of water and so enter the lungs. The incubation time for the disease normally takes two weeks and initially results in flu like symptoms, fever, chills and a dry cough. During the more advanced stages it can cause gastrointestinal problems, a breakdown in the nervous system and diarrhea, leading to the onset of pneumonia.
The conditions that make the Legionella bacteria more numerous are when water temperatures are between 20 and 45∞C. Areas where the bacteria have a natural source of nutrients such as rust, algae, sludge or organic matter on which it can feed. The spread of the disease also needs some form of dispensing system that can create a fine mist of water droplets like a water spa, cooling tower or swimming pool.
The majority of people who contract Legionnaires Disease do not fall ill and suffer no ill effects. The disease is also not spread between people directly and can only be circulated by devices like air-conditioning or central heating systems. It is for this reason that elderly residents living in nursing homes, attending care centres and hospitals can all provide high-risk areas. For this reason great care and attention particularly needs to be paid to water systems in these types of premises.
Legionella Risk Assessment
In the UK the Health & Safety Executive under the ACoP L8 directive and COSHH regulations clearly lays out the rules governing the risk assessment of Legionella. The document which is entitled "Legionnaires Disease" details the control of Legionella bacteria in water systems and guidance on undertaking Legionella risk assessment.
Low amounts of Legionella bacteria are normally found in many natural sources of water, such as streams, rivers, dams etc but not in sufficient levels to pose any danger. In air conditioning and central heating systems, in lots of modern buildings, the conditions for breeding Legionella are many times more likely. This allied to showerheads, whirlpools or garden sprinklers, which can make ideal ways of spreading the Legionella bacteria.
Legionella risk assessment is essential whether your business is large or small but even more so with such places as leisure centres, educational institutions, hotels and especially nursing homes, hospital and elderly care centres as they are a particularly vulnerable group.
The code of practice states that:
It is important to identify and assess the risk of infection and exposure to Legionella from daily work routines and to ensure that precautionary methods taken with any premises storage and water systems.
The person responsible for premises should have access to a qualified individual to help where necessary with the Legionella risk assessment. Employers must keep staff or their representatives informed of the arrangements concerning the assessment.
Where the risk is slight or insignificant no further assessment may be required. However, should circumstances change then a review of the situation may be necessary.
There should also be regular assessments to confirm that the original risk assessments mandate is still relevant. Reasons that may trigger the requirement of a new Legionella risk assessment include the changes to the water system, change of building use, new risk information, instances of Legionnaires disease, adverse control results.
Conducting a Legionella Risk Assessment:
The assessment should check for the presence of the Legionella bacteria, assess if the conditions are beneficial for bacterial multiplication such as temperature, nutrients etc. There should be a check on whether the means to spread the bacteria is present such as a cooling tower or shower units. An assessment also needs to take into account the number of vulnerable individuals likely to be present in any premises.
Checks should also take into account the source of water supply, storage facilities within the premises and daily operating practices.
Legionella control relies on regularly checking and treatment of sources that are likely to provide favourable conditions for the Legionella bacteria to breed. The most common sources for harbouring Legionella pneumophila, are cooling towers, industrial sized air-conditioning systems, domestic hot water systems, fountains, swimming pools and whirlpool spas. The Legionella bacteria are also naturally present in small quantities in rivers, streams, pools, lakes and reservoirs.
Legionnaires disease is spread when the bacteria is suspended in droplets of water and carried by the wind or through a buildings air-conditioning system. Results of tests by a French team of scientists found that Legionella control that was poor could lead to the bacteria being carried up to 6Km by the wind. In 2003-2004 a case in Pas de Calais had 86 confirmed cases and 18 deaths. It was discovered that the source of the outbreak were the cooling towers of a petrochemical plant and the furthest noted cases were up to 6Km from the site.
The European Working Group for Legionella Infections (EWGLI) was set up as a response to the problem and established a set of principles and courses of action that company's were obliged to follow in order to closely monitor potential sources of Legionella.
The EWGLI recommends that temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius will kill the majority of bacteria or leave them unlikely to multiply. Temperatures between 35 degrees Celsius and 45 degrees Celsius is where the greatest reproduction of the bacteria takes places and anything from 20 degrees Celsius to 50 degrees Celsius is when growth takes place. Any temperature below 20 degrees Celsius the Legionella bacteria can survive but will be dormant.
The most ideal forms of Legionella control are either by maintaining a temperature that is below 20 degrees Celsius and above 50 degrees Celsius, or by the use of chemical methods. Copper-silver ionisation helps to remove sludge and also removes the food source that aids bacterial multiplication. The use of chlorine dioxide is another form of Legionella control that will cut down on the problem; as does the use of ultraviolet light and ozone that will provide short-term solutions.
Chlorine treatments can eradicate the problem just as long as they are carried out every 3 - 5 weeks. Copper-silver ionisation, when used effectively, can work during the course of a week. Chlorine dioxide has a track record of successfully tackling the problem of Legionella dating back to 1945. There is little impact on it from water corrosion, pH values or inhibitors like phosphates and silica. Superheating or thermal eradication and flushing is another reliable method, where water is heated to 60∞C and flushed.