Water Hygiene

Water Hygiene is the responsibility of Building Owners, Property Managers and Maintenance Departments to reduce the risk of Legionella in any water system with the potential for human contact. The recently ratified ASHRAE 188 standard establishes the minimum requirements for a buildings risk management plan. These practices have already made their way in to legislation and guidelines. New York became the first State to pass laws requiring that building owners and healthcare facilities develop a Water Management Plan. The CDC has issued a tool kit based on the ASHRAE standard to help facilities determine the best course of action to keep building occupants safe. And the CMS has issued a requirement that all hospitals take action to reduce the risk of Legionella in Healthcare Facility Water Systems. Regular testing for the Legionella Bacteria in water systems is a component of a successful Water Management Plan to verify the effectiveness of a Facilities control measures and demonstrates a pro-active approach to reducing the risk of Legionella contamination.

Does my Healthcare Facilities Accreditation require Legionella Testing?

Auditors with Healthcare Accreditation agencies such as The Joint Commission (JCAHO) will be looking for Water Management Plan documents as of June 2017. The CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), with the issuance of S&C 17-30, requires that all Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals and Long-Term Care facilities implement a water management program that includes control measures and environmental testing to reduce the risk of Legionella in any water system with the potential for human contact. Control measures may include temperature management, disinfectant level verification and visual inspections. Environmental testing refers to lab analysis of water samples to test for the presence of pathogens such as Legionella. Every facility is different, so consult with a Water Treatment professional to validate your facilities approach to Water Management and compliance with the CMS requirement.

Why do you need to test for Legionella?

Water Hygiene is the responsibility of Building Owners, Property Managers and Maintenance Departments to reduce the risk of Legionella in any water system with the potential for human contact. The recently ratified ASHRAE 188 standard establishes the minimum requirements for a buildings risk management plan. These practices have already made their way in to legislation and guidelines. New York became the first State to pass laws requiring that building owners and healthcare facilities develop a Water Management Plan. The CDC has issued a tool kit based on the ASHRAE standard to help facilities determine the best course of action to keep building occupants safe. And the CMS has issued a requirement that all hospitals take action to reduce the risk of Legionella in Healthcare Facility Water Systems. Regular testing for the Legionella Bacteria in water systems is a component of a successful Water Management Plan to verify the effectiveness of a Facilities control measures and demonstrates a pro-active approach to reducing the risk of Legionella contamination.

Preventing Legionellosis

Preventing Legionellosis has risen on the priority list of Building Owners and Managers due to heightened awareness and unfolding regulations in parts of the US. Taking proactive steps to ensure water system safety involves effective planning, development of/adherence to a water management plan, and specific testing for the organism. While it is estimated that there are over 50 species and 70 serogroups of Legionella, community-acquired Legionnaire’s Disease is dominated by Legionella pneumophila, serogroup 1. Therefore, the laboratory selected to support implementation of a Water Management plan should not only be CDC Elite, but should employ methods that are statistically effective at detecting Legionella pneumophila, serogroup 1 with a high degree of accuracy in both cooling towers and potable water systems.