Slade Brothers Plumbing are experienced specialists in Legionella management in plumbing infrastructure within buildings. We have extensive experience in treating Legionella infections within aged care and healthcare facilities.
What is Legionella
Legionella is a small – less than 1 micrometre in width and 3 micrometre in length bacteria. They can be found in water, adhering to the surface of pipes or other plumbing infrastructure colonising in biofilm within the water supply pipework, aerators on spouts and within shower roses. Infection by Legionella occurs following inhalation or aspiration of aerosol droplets containing Legionella bacteria. The incubation period for Legionnaires’ disease is usually 2–10 days before the onset of illness, but is typically 5–6 days. When exposed to Legionella, most healthy individuals will not develop an illness, or will develop Pontiac fever rather than Legionnaires’ disease, but newborn babies, the very old and people with compromised immune systems are at increased risk of Legionella infection.
Legionella is therefore of significant concern in health and aged care facilities because of the presence of people with clinical risk factors that increase both the likelihood and the potential severity of Legionella infection.
Legionella within the water supply system
Water system risk refers to the risk of contamination of water, microbial colonisation of facility water infrastructure and subsequent proliferation of Legionella bacteria within the water distribution system of a health or an aged care facility. Understanding the water distribution system and the patients or residents most at risk is the first step in identifying and managing the hazards associated with the growth of Legionella in a water distribution system.
How we can help
We pride ourselves on providing individualised site specific system analysis, advice, risk assessment and planning. When it comes to managing or treating Legionella in water systems one thing is certain. There is no such thing as a “one treatment cures all” scenario. In deciding an appropriate treatment process it is necessary to know what, why and how the Legionella infection proliferated.
The most common area Legionella is detected is in the pipework between a thermostatic mixing valve and the tapware at a fixture. In this case it can be relatively easy to treat.
Should an infection be detected in the cold or warm water pipework elsewhere then it becomes more complex. The factors to consider it treating and managing a Legionella infection are bio-film control then determining the most appropriate treatment method. Whether it be pasteurising or super chlorination. In any case it is necessary to understand the extent of the issue at hand. Where thermostatic mixing valves are installed, annual servicing is critical in maintaining a healthy system.