What is legionella?

This is a disease which is similar to pneumonia and is caused by the legionella bacterium. It can be fatal to anyone it affects. You will get an infection through breathing in little droplets of water that may have the bacterium. However, this disease is not contagious. These bacteria are mostly found in the environment and may grow and contaminate the water system. It may affect both the domestic cold and hot water systems. The bacteria survive at low temperatures and are harmed or killed by high temperatures.

As a residential landlord, you will be required by the housing laws to have a certificate showing that your residence has been tested for Legionella. It is exceptional for hot water systems to be tested for legionella unless they have been suspected to harbor the bacterium. It is your responsibility as a residential landlord to ensure that your houses have been tested for Legionella. The safety and health regulations require you to carry out a risk assessment for the legionella bacterium which causes Legionnaires ‘ disease and put in place control measures to reduce the risk of infection to the tenants. Even though most rental residences are below the risk of having legionella, it is vital to have the risk assessment done and putting in place control and prevention measures.

Risk assessment

It is the job of a resident landlord to ensure the control of the risk of exposure to residents, visitors, and tenants. They should ensure that the threat of Legionella is properly assessed and controlled. It is recommended that the landlord be the one to carry out the risk assessment as long as they are competent. This process of assessment will often need Legionella Risk Assessment companies to aid in the process as it can be a difficult task to complete.

As long as control measures have been put in place, the risk assessment for most residential premises will be low. This applies to houses and flats that have small domestic water systems where the turnover of water is high. No further action is required if the risk assessment shows that the risk is not major and control measures have been put in place and are being followed. It is very vital that the assessment should be put under constant review.

You should use alternative methods of water, for example, replacing a cool water system with a hot water system. You could also design and maintain your water services under conditions that enhance preventive and control measures. Water stored in cool tower system will not only reduce the risk of legionella but reduces the scale and fouling while ensuring the sufficient operation of the cooling process.

Keeping water hot is also another way of controlling legionella for example in nursing homes, residential homes water for kitchen use should remain hot and properly boiled.


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