Control and Prevention of Legionella

The Washington State Department of Health recently issued guidance to reduce Legionella growth and other pathogen and corrosion concerns that occur when there is a large drop in building water use.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a type of bacteria that can cause Pontiac fever or a serious type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. Learn more about Legionella from the CDC and read their latest report estimating the burden and direct healthcare costs of infectious waterborne disease in the United States.

What is the problem and who does it apply to?

Many buildings are closed to the public or have limited access in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The resulting drop in building water use increases the risk for Legionella growth in building plumbing and associated equipment like cooling towers, pools, decorative fountains, hot tubs, and more. These systems must be actively managed and maintained to prevent Legionella growth. Learn how to properly monitor building water quality.

Starting up building water systems after closures and sustained low use

Before resuming water use, learn how to safely start up building water systems and view the EPA’s checklist for restoring building water quality for reopening.

Appropriate training and PPE should also be considered to ensure the safety of you and your employees from both chemical and biological exposure while disinfecting and flushing the building plumbing. You can find guidance on worker safety for Legionella control and prevention on the OSHA website.