The Unexpected Cause Of Legionella Outbreaks

Life Sciences

When we think about Legionella, we tend to think about pipework, dead legs, TMV’s and high temperature contributing to the source of the outbreak. However, Legionella can also grow in areas that you may have previously not considered like, water softeners or carbon and sand filters.

In order to minimise the risk in these areas, here are a few things to consider with your piping layout and the use of these types of products in your infrastructure.

  • When fitting a new water softener or filter vessel, the sizing is important. If one of the systems is oversized, the water that stays in the pressure vessels can be stagnant meaning potential for bacteria growth.
  • The risk is amplified further as pressure vessels rarely have thermal insulation. Even worse, they can commonly be found in warm rooms where there are boilers or calorifiers increasing the thermal risk.

Importantly and quite simply, there are ways to prevent this from happening.

Whilst some older systems work with mechanical controllers, newer electronic controllers have functionalities that can assist. Typically, softeners and filter vessels work on different regeneration modes to keep the water moving when not regularly used.

These commonly found modes are:

  • Chronometric: Where the regeneration will happen every ‘X’ days.
  • Volumetric: Where the regeneration will happen every ‘X’ volume of water.

Most electronic controllers have an override function, meaning that if regeneration hasn’t happened after ‘X’ amount of days, then a regeneration will happen. This override function is here to minimise the risk of stagnating water.

Chlorinators are also available, an accessory that fits on the brine line and creates chlorine by electrolyzing the brine that goes through.

Implement these process changes and correcting any issues in the pipework is extremely important for both safety, downtime and getting those affected outlets up and running again.

Of course, when Legionella is detected and pending finding the root cause, our range of tap and shower POU filters can offer immediate protection to keep your patients or staff from harm.

If you need any further assistance with your current water infrastructure or are planning on implementing a new system to combat Legionella then please get in touch with us using our hotline number on 01622 684999 or contact us below.