Legionella Control

The regulatory burden relating  to Legionella control has steadily increased over the years. Cooling towers have been subject to compulsory testing for a long time, but a great many other installations and businesses are now subject to serious “duty of care” and prevention rules which place a severe compliance burden on even the humble property-to-let landlord, boarding house owner, leisure centre, or hotel or sports club, to name but a few. Any building used by the public that has showers, baths, spas or similar, must prove they comply.

Legionella pneumophila, sero group 1, one of the forty odd varieties of Legionella, causes Legionnaires disease and the flu-like Pontiac fever. It can and does kill (mainly the old, sick and young) but even when it does not, it makes its victims very sick. The legal implications, criminal and civil, can be severe.

The conventional approach to compliance is cumbersome, slow and somewhat unreliable sampling and for this reason the authorities tend to rely on convoluted risk assessments which can be of varied quality. This is a major problem for those who cannot afford to merely follow a “tick box regime” and who need to make sure they prevent Legionella.

Classic examples are spa and hotel owners for whom a legionella outbreak, even if non fatal, can be reputational and consequently financial death for an otherwise sound enterprise. The same goes for contractors who do deep cleaning of shower systems, spa baths and calorifiers. They need to prove that their efforts were successful.

So, the Hydrosense Rapid Testing Kit for legionella is an affordable and easy to use tool that truly proves that the necessary work has been done and that a system was legionella free at the time work concluded.

The hotel keeper, water maintenance engineer, landlord…anyone involved in water quality assurance will find this item to be an invaluable and money saving tool, as well as one that “adds value” to the service provision offered.

Note: The above remarks apply to UK based installations and UK rules. However, UK cruise ships or foreign hotels provided by UK operators may not necessarily use the foreign status to avoid trouble if UK residents take action related to legionella infection picked up in such places. That said, it is just better to make sure that test are done and such cases prevented.

Legionella is a pervasive bacteria that can be found in any stagnant or calm water such as ponds, pipes, pools, hose reels (bad offenders), irrigation systems, humidifying sprays, aircon cooling, calorifiers, header tanks, boiler feeds, balance tanks, spas, hot tubs and similar. Its only virtue is that it does not spread from person to person and it is not zoonotic.

This bug can infect hot water systems and cold ones too. It particularly favours the tepid, so called “cold water” systems found in hotels, ships, office blocks, accommodation barges, schools and other places with suitably warm ambient temperatures. Control is often effected with biocides, chlorine dioxide or heat, Raising hot water temps to 70C and running the full outlet system at this is a popular method of control. It should be noted that “dead ends” or dog leg plumbing are real risk features where legionella will thrive. So too are hot water systems that do not circulate properly but which reverse due to unseen alterations at some time in their history.

In terms of life cycle and behaviour, which much affect testing and treatment, legionella can be most simply categorised into two. First is the “Bound” legionella, so named because it is bound or imprisoned within a host (bio slime/amoeba) upon which it feeds but within which it is protected, until it exhausts its host and bursts out releasing countless motile legionellae (the second category) into the water.

These are “free” legionella and are the most virulent form of Legionella. The problem is that bound legionella are in the reproducing stage of their lives and this is what is required if they are to be lab tested using culture methods. It is quite possible to test water for legionella and get negative readings even though the host bioslimes are riddled with the bacteria which can be suddenly released in vast numbers. Severe bioslimes can also undermine disinfection or deep cleaning regimes.

Unfortunately the free legionella, upon their release, are more dangerous at this stage but they are not in the reproductive stage. Ergo: They cannot be detected by culture methods. Testing bound legionella, the only usual lab option, is not easy or reliable. There is a DNA testing system but the equipment is very expensive. Anyway, tests of the above sorts can take many days as they require a sample to be sent to a laboratory.

A hotel, hospital or leisure centre cannot afford to wait for a series of ten day tests whilst legionella infestation is proved or not proved. The press ensure maximum coverage and the resulting public reaction alone can be fatal to a business.

The Hydrosense kit is an antigen test system which test both bound or free legionella equally to good effect. To put it in very simple terms, Hydrosense “knows” either way. And it is quick. 25 minutes is all that is needed to get a result
Hydrosense tests allow for an infection to be detected before anyone gets sick or anyone finds out and remedial action taken.

Rapid Legionella Test Kit

Industrial Water Equipment’s rapid legionella test kit is designed for the qualitative detection of Legionella Pneumophila Serogroup 1.

Out testing kit can be used for the detection of legionella bacteria in almost any water sample including 

  • Domestic
  • Hospitality
  • Residential and Commercial
  • Water Systems
  • Showers

Need Help?

We can advise on the correct water testing equipment for your requirements.
Please contact us on
01629 363311

we are more than happy to help.