The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported between 8,000 and 18,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease annually in the United States caused by the spread of the Legionella bacteria. What can you do to protect your facility by preventing Legionella and other waterborne pathogens? Here are five best practices you can implement to protect your patients, guests, and facility by preventing bacterial outbreaks in your facility’s water system.
1. Evaluate sustainability
Choose a systemic, long-term solution for your facility that is environmentally friendly, cost effective, easy to maintain, and focuses on preventing the growth and spread of Legionella and other waterborne pathogens. Prioritize methods that provide you with residual protection while requiring little personnel maintenance and monitoring, as well as prevent scale, corrosion, and biofilm growth.
2. Consider your environment
Consider a plan that has no detrimental effects to the immediate plumbing environment and the individuals it serves such as the patient, guests, and employees. You will need to evaluate where waterborne pathogens thrive. Most have a presence and are amplified in non-circulating loops, stored water systems, and water biofilms. They tend to proliferate in hot-water environments. Pathogens are transmitted through aerosolization, ingestion, and contact. Knowing these facts, you want to identify areas or devices in your building where Legionella or other waterborne pathogens might grow in order to prevent and eliminate its colonization.
3. Avoid hazards
Many water disinfection methods create further hazardous conditions in the long-term. Avoid methods that require hazardous handling, storage, or continuous monitoring. Protect yourself from carcinogens and other health related harmful side-effects that are caused by some conventional disinfection methods. Choose a solution that is non-corrosive, does not damage the distribution system, and is effective throughout an entire water system.
4. Select vetted technologies
Select a Legionella prevention method that has a proven track record, is EPA registered, NSF approved, and ETL/UL certified. LiquiTech’s Copper Silver Ionization (link to product page) product is certified with all the said agencies and organizations. Our filters have been extensively evaluated in accordance with relevant microbiological test protocols in independent laboratories and have passed all rigorous third-party tests to ensure complete compliance.
Developing and maintaining an effective water management program is a process that requires review and proactivity. Assemble a water management team from among your employees, partners, and outside experts. Then create a water system map of where potentially hazardous conditions could occur in your building water system. This helps you establish critical control point measures. Develop procedures and tests that monitor pH levels, biocide concentrations, and the temperature in order to verify that the various elements of the plan are effective. Ensure regular monitoring that is easily maintained to efficiently prevent any potentially hazardous conditions. Establish adequate monitoring of your prevention system and take corrective action when a particular CPP is not under control by developing proper intervention methods when control limits are unmet. In such cases, there should be pre-planned and written procedures outlined for immediate corrective action. It is imperative to document all the activities throughout this process so you can effectively evaluate the results.