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The Importance and Legal Necessity of Legionella Testing

Legionnaires' disease is a horrific form of pneumonia, an inflammatory condition of the lung which can lead to a variety of health-issues and is often known, among the old, young and sick, to lead to death.

The disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which thrives particularly well in aquatic systems. An extremely common bacteria, more often than not humans are relatively safe from Legionella when it is encountered in natural settings such as streams and ponds, as these locations are not optimised for allowing the bacteria to thrive.

Legionella Testing Southampton Within purpose-built systems, however, such as boiler units, water pipes, shower systems and hose-pipes, Legionnaires' disease becomes a far greater, and life-threatening, threat. When water sits at room temperature in an artificial system, the Legionella bacteria begins to cultivate and thrive. Any sitting-water left at a temperature between 25° to 45° is ripe for Legionella, and the effects can be devastating.

The average healthy person, when struck with Legionnaires' disease, may believe themselves to be suffering from a particularly bad cold. This can take you out of action for some time, and is bad enough in itself. But if a person is particularly young, old, or worst of all in possession of a compromised immune system, the effects can be very often fatal.

The Legionella bacteria enters the human body through aerosolised-water, meaning any water which is inhaled as vapour or steam. Once in the human system, it finds that human body-temperature is the perfect climate in which to cultivate, and an immuno-compromised person may be unable to fight the bacteria in time to prevent the occurrence of pneumonia. Even the smallest intake can be deadly, because it is the nature of bacteria to grow and spread once within a system.

While any purpose-built system in which water 'sits' is a potential host for the Legionella, the most common sites in which people are at risk of contracting the bacteria are water-cooling towers (often found atop office-blocks), boiler systems, and within garden hose-pipes.

Since last year legislation has passed which makes it a legal requirement for landlords to ensure that their properties are treated for Legionella bacteria. The test and treatment process is relatively straight-forward, though only when performed by a quality testing/treatment company. First, the water in your system will be checked to ensure that:

  1. Cold water stored within the system maintains a temperature of below 20°.
  2. Hot water stored within the system maintains a temperature of above 60°.
  3. Hot water flowing from outlets maintains a temperate of above 50°.

Legionella Testing SouthamptonLandlords are required to have a risk-assessment performed every two years. In the case that the tested water-system is found to be a site of cultivation for Legionella, your specialist will clean out the system with the use of a biocide; a chemical substance or microorganism which can render any bacterial infestations harmless.

It is VITAL to have your property tested for the Legionella bacteria. Make sure you contact a reliable Legionella testing contractor to ensure that the testing and treatment are performed to legal standard.

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Legionella Southampton