Water is something that everyone uses and consumes in huge amounts every day. Various industries across the British Isles utilize water for different purposes as well.
Large amounts of water are used for washing, cooling, diluting, sanitation, as an additional ingredient for a product, for consumption, and other purposes.
Because water is a crucial part of various operations in different industries and businesses, it is important for organizations to ensure that they are using safe, good quality H2O.
Harmful Microbes in Your Establishment’s Water Systems
Water contamination can happen in both industrial and household settings. Different types of harmful microbes can easily find their way in to your water sources. If your organisation utilises water in the workplace, in providing services, and with certain operations or production processes, it is important to be 100% certain that it is safe for use and consumption.
One dangerous strain of bacteria that you may be harbouring in your water sources and premises would be the Legionella bacteria. They are waterborne bacteria that are responsible for Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionella bacteria thrive in warm water and as such, in industrial and commercial properties, they can be found in:
• Industrial cooling and hot water systems
• Central air conditioning systems
• Toilets or bathrooms
• Swimming pools and spas
To ascertain their presence in the different areas and water systems or sources of an industrial or commercial area, you will have to use Legionella water testing kits.
Businesses and Organizations at Risk of Legionella Water Contamination
Some industries have a larger number of complex water systems that makes them ideal habitats for Legionella bacteria. The fact that these businesses and organizations have more employees and repeat end-users makes it more important for them to prioritise regular Legionella water testing and treatment.
The top industries and sectors that will benefit greatly from regular Legionella water testing are:
1. The Healthcare Sector
Hospitals, clinics, dental practices and care homes have the big responsibility of keeping all their patients safe from the spread of infections and diseases. Since these organisations are large consumers of water, they have to go to great lengths to control the risk of Legionella contamination on their premises. Regular water testing can help them with this.
Similar to other forms of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ disease easily affects (and can be deadly among) people with pre-existing medical conditions and weakened immune systems. The elderly and young children are more susceptible to this illness as well.
Legionella, in particular, presents a high risk in nursing homes that provide accommodation to seniors and chronically ill patients. All organisations that offer healthcare and medical services should therefore focus on minimising the risk of Legionella in their water systems, sources, and features, if they are available in or near the premises.
2. Real Estate
If you are letting residential and commercial properties, you have to know that it is your responsibility as a landlord to ensure that the water used in the buildings you own are safe for use and consumption.
Toilets and other plumbing fixtures that have not been used for a long time (due to the property being vacant) are likely to harbour Legionella bacteria. Before accepting new tenants, you have to be sure that the water they will be using is potable.
Start by using water testing kits to check the different water sources and fixtures. If the tests confirm the presence of Legionella, you will have to take the necessary steps to get rid of these bacteria.
Student accommodations that have stood empty for long periods of time as well as older buildings with poorly maintained and insulated water tanks are also at higher risk for the presence of Legionella.
Hotels, motels, inns, and resorts have complex plumbing systems due to the numerous bathrooms, toilets, showers, sinks and other water features in their facilities. The addition of swimming pools, spas, Jacuzzis, fountains and ponds also means that Legionella bacteria will have more breeding grounds.
Aside from the complexity of these establishments’ plumbing systems, some outlets may be intermittently used, or even completely unused, due to seasonal variations in demand. This also increases the likelihood of dead legs where water is left to stand and stagnate.
Again, conducting Legionella testing on schedule will help prevent contamination and possible outbreaks which have already happened in several hotels within and outside the United Kingdom.
Lastly, manufacturing firms also have large and complex facilities and use significant amounts of water to create their products and for use of all employees. These contribute to a higher-than-average risk of harbouring Legionella.
Issues such as the release of contaminated water spray from a cooling tower which can be unwittingly inhaled by workers over a large area can lead to an outbreak. It is therefore important that water testing is done regularly and all risks are tightly monitored and controlled.
To always have safe, potable running water in your business or establishment, start by conducting regular tests with the use of the right Legionella water testing kits.