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Industry urged to take action against Legionnaires disease

With Legionella continuing to pose a risk to public health in England and Wales, David Ridgway, product application manager at Andrews Water Heaters, is reminding industry professionals of the importance of water treatment and Legionella risk management.

David Ridgway, product application manager at Andrews Water Heaters.

The ‘Monthly Legionella Report May 2019’, produced by Public Health England, reveals that there have been 110 confirmed cases of Legionnaires disease (LD) since January 1, 2019, with 18 of these cases being recorded in May alone. 

Legionnaires’ disease continues to pose a serious, but avoidable risk to public health. Several notable incidents have recently occurred including a leisure centre customer contracting Legionnaires’ disease in Tendring, and a fatality in a hotel in Ludlow.

Mr Ridgway said: “Such incidents are wholly avoidable. By designing, maintaining and operating water services under conditions that control the risk of legionella, commercial properties can safeguard end users. Best-practice is to ensure that the system water is treated to control, or limit, the ability of bacteria to grow. Additionally, water should not be allowed to stagnate anywhere in the system. Correctly designing the pipe runs in the first instance, combined with the correct use of controls and interfacing of the water heater and associated pumps, can help to further reduce such risks.” 

Manufacturers of appliances such as water heaters, are consistently working on combatting the rising risk of Legionnaires’ disease. For instance, the MAXXflo EVO from Andrews Water Heaters has full anti-legionella functions and optional strap-on pipe sensor. This control and monitoring of the secondary return circuit temperature and pump operation ensures protection against bacterial growth. 

Mr Ridgway continued: “What we are seeing in England and Wales is members of the public contracting a completely avoidable disease. By designing water systems with legionella risk management in mind, the threat to the public and employees in commercial sites can be reduced. Additionally, once installed and commissioned, ongoing servicing, maintenance and water treatment can help to control bacterial growth in water heating appliances and components in the system such as showerheads, expansion vessels and thermostats.” 

He concluded: “Managing the risk of legionella begins with the design of the water system. Specifying and installing appliances with anti-legionella functions, along with the correct use of timed or interface control of the water heater and secondary pumps, can provide facilities managers with the head start they need to tackle the ever-present threat of Legionnaires’ disease.”

17 July 2019

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