What is Legionella?

Legionella is a bacterium, commonly found in natural water sources (lakes, rivers, ponds, etc.), but can find its way into man-made water systems and certain circumstances therein, allow it to proliferate.

What circumstances allow for Legionella growth?

There are 3 core elements that encourage growth:

  • Stagnation – Water that is left without motion for some time
  • Biofilm – A collection of organic matter that feeds and protects the bacteria
  • Temperature – temperatures between 20-50 are ideal for bacterial proliferation

Do I need a risk assessment?

All employers and those that are self-employed must carry out a risk assessment, taking into consideration both workers and those that might be affected by their work or business.

Those who employ 5 or more employees must also record any significant findings from the assessment, either electronically or physically.

The assessment must also be ‘suitable and sufficient’ and be carried out by a competent person (somebody with adequate training, knowledge, experience and skills).

What should a Legionella risk assessment cover?

As per the HSE’s guidelines, a risk assessment should include:

  • management responsibilities, including the name of the competent person and a description of your system
  • competence and training of key personnel
  • any identified potential risk sources
  • any means of preventing the risk or controls in place to control risks
  • monitoring, inspection and maintenance procedures
  • records of the monitoring results and inspection and checks carried out
  • arrangements to review the risk assessment regularly, particularly when there is reason to suspect it is no longer valid

How often should the risk assessment be updated?

There is a requirement to the review and update the risk assessment regularly, we recommend undertaking a new assessment every 2 years as best practice. Also, there is an official requirement to update it whenever there has been a change in any element of the risk assessment including management structure, water system, structural change of building etc.

Do I need a Legionella risk assessment if I have a health and safety risk assessment?

A comprehensive health and safety risk assessment should recognise the need for an independent Legionella risk assessment.

A health and safety risk assessment will highlight all health and safety risks within the business/property, but is unlikely to assess the risks relating to Legionella or include the measures required to be L8 compliant.

How do I minimise risk?

Temperature control is the main method of lowering the associated risks of Legionella and a few simple measures can make all the difference:

  • Cold Water – Stored at or below 20°C and dispensed from outlets at 20°C or below within 2 minutes
  • Hot Water – Stored at 60°C and dispensed from outlets at a minimum of 50°C (55°C for care environments) within 1 minute
  • Outlet Flushing – Introduce a regiment of routine flushing for any outlets that aren’t in regular use

I’ve received a Legionella positive, what should I do?

If legionella is identified within your system, there are a number of measures to counteract, including temperature management and chemical disinfection.

We recommend limiting exposure to aerosols (stop using showers, hoses, etc.) and contact your Legionella control specialists.

There is no requirement to notify Environmental Health or your Local Authority for a Legionella positive result.

Why do I need to need to protect against Legionella?

Ultimately it comes down to Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HASAWA) and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH).

There are also supporting guidance and technical documentation (HSG274, ACoP L8, HTM 04-01) to help provide further information and details for sufficient legionella control.

I’m a landlord and I’ve been told I need a Legionella risk assessment, do I?

All landlords, whether it’s an entire building or a single room, have legal responsibilities to ensure the health and safety of the tenant by keeping the property safe and free from health hazards.

The risks from hot and cold water systems in residential properties are typically considered to be quite low and because of this, an in-depth and heavily detailed assessment is rarely required.

The assessment may find that some basic measures, such as maintaining proper temperature control is all that is recommended or required.

It is still important to ensure the assessment is regularly reviewed to cover any changes in the system.

Tenants should also be made aware of any implemented control measures that need to be maintained (temperature settings, cleaning showers, etc.).

What is limescale?

To most people, limescale is the chalky residue found attached to the heating element within kettles, boilers and washing machines.

From a more scientific standing, limescale is a calcium carbonate deposit left behind by hard water.

What causes limescale?

Limescale is commonly caused due to a high concentration of dissolved minerals (such as calcium and magnesium) and when the water evaporates, it leaves behind these minerals and that is the cause of limescale.

What does limescale effect?

Limescale can affect pretty much anything that hard water touches, with a stronger effect on items that have longer contact and stronger heating.

Commonly affecting areas include:

  • Boilers
  • Kettles
  • Heating systems
  • Washing Machines
  • Showers
  • Taps

How do you prevent limescale build-up?

The traditional method was to install a water softener that exchanged the minerals in the water for sodium (or salt to most people). While this approach does help reduce the build-up of scale, but has the unfortunate drawback of making the water unsafe to drink and requires additional filters to remove the added sodium.

There is a relatively new method of not only scale prevention, but removal too. Water conditioners offer the same level of prevention, without the need for salt and a side effect of how they work means existing limescale within pipe work and some appliances will be steadily removed.

Is filtration a sufficient means of Legionella control?

We strongly recommend only using filters as a temporary stopgap during a confirmed case of Legionella or high bacterial readings.

How effective are the Legionella Safe Filters?

The 0.15-micron hollow fibre membrane within each filter means a log 7 reduction in bacteria, which translates to bacteria levels being 10,000,000 times smaller and a guarantee of improved water safety.

Do the filters only affect Legionella?

The hollow fibre is designed to work on all microorganisms above 0.15 micron in size, this includes but isn’t limited to Legionella.

The filter won’t affect the quality of the water, only make it safer.

Where can Legionella Safe Filters be installed?

Our range of filters can be implemented in a number of environments – domestic (houses, care homes and apartments), commercial (restaurants, hotels and offices) and industrial (factories, foundries and construction).

The shower head blends seamlessly with the feel and style of modern fixtures and fittings in washrooms and bathrooms alike.

The inline filter allows for greater customisable use, easily fitting into existing systems and plumbing, providing protection while not intruding on outlet features.

Finally, we have the tap safe filter, able to fit on majority of common tap designs and providing the same level of protection as the other filters.

The entire range is available in a sleek chrome or satin white finish.

What is the lifespan of the filter?

The true lifespan will vary depending on the water quality and usage, but on average the filters will last around 90 days.

How much do the filters cost?

Single orders can be made through the PayPal button on the product page.

Larger orders can be made either through the order page or by contacting us directly.

The efficient design of the Legionella Safe Filters allows the housing to be reused and reduce the operational costs by only requiring replacement filters.

Still have questions?

Can’t find what you’re looking for or maybe you want to know a little bit more about the services and products we provide?

We’d like to hear from you, so get in touch on 01902 636355 or email enq@nantltd.co.uk.