Reducing the Risk of Legionella & Other Bacteria in Water Treatment

A recent University Hospital at the University of Wisconsin Legionella outbreak claimed three lives as the case count hit 14, according to Legionnaires’ Disease News. The strain of Legionella that was found in the victims’ bodies was the same that was found in the water supply.

Many water treatment insurers exclude Legionella and other bacteria from their coverage, but here at WaterColor Management, we include coverage for Legionella in our Water Treatment Program, and Legionella insurance is needed when it comes down to the safety of your water treatment operation. In addition, having an optimal risk management plan in place will help reduce the risk of Legionella and other bacteria. By making sure that the water supply is always devoid of life-threatening bacteria, there will be no worries about any future litigation.

By doing simple things like monitoring temperature, residual disinfectants and pH with suggested control limits, it’s possible to stay on stop of Legionella and the disease it brings. Here’s how to reduce the risk of Legionella in detail, courtesy of Buildings.

How to Prevent Legionella

If you want to keep Legionella and other hazardous bacteria from entering the water system, the best way is by maintaining cooling towers and plumbing system. However, no water treatment is entirely foolproof, so it is imperative to upkeep water treatment management for the safety of those around you. And there’s a multitude of water systems available.

Utilizing a cooling tower system is key to help combat this type of bacteria. Without the proper water treatment management plan in place, things could prove to get disastrous fast. Every water system needs a risk assessment, as well as cooling towers. Cooling towers need to be checked for the following for maintenance:

  • Biocide programs
  • Prevention programs for corrosion, scale and deposits
  • Mist-elimination technologies
  • Dispersant, biodispersant and antifoulant programs
  • Twice-yearly washout and cleaning programs, including oxidizing infections

For domestic plumbing systems, designs need to be reviewed. Recirculation needs to be a key aspect to ensure that outbreaks aren’t going to happen. Don’t let water become stagnant in pumps and tanks; make sure they are always pumped fresh. If you have a point-of-use water heater, then there’s a big chance of leaks, flood and Legionella. It’s best to always keep them maintained. Always clean and flush with disinfectants regularly and you’ll be able to prevent infection and disease from spreading.

How to Treat Legionella

OSHA has some set guidelines and regulations when when you have to deal with a Legionella outbreak, which can be found here. There’s a two-story approach to diagnosing an infected system. If only one person has been affected, it’s a infection. When two or more succumb to to Legionnaires Disease, it’s then considered an outbreak. That’s why having Legionella insurance is so important. You never know when your water can become contaminated, no matter how many precautionary measures there are.

About Watercolor Management

WaterColor Management has insured the water industry for over 30 years.  Our policies include unlimited defense cost coverage in the event of a lawsuit against you. Call us at (256) 260-0412 or email for a quick quote for your Water Business Professional, Products/Completed operations, Pollution and General Liability Insurance.