Legionella Update

Legionella Updates

Legionella Updates

Legionella is the associated microbe that has dominated headlines within the water treatment community since the outbreak was identified in Philadelphia in 1976.

Legionella has, justifiably, taken a back burner. For the last 13 months the world has focused on the horrors of COVID-19. As of now, over 570,000 deaths have been associated with COVID in the United States alone.

Yet, the threat to human health caused by the legionella bacteria remains. Recent events have increased the risk from this pathogen. Vacant and underused buildings and the resulting stagnant water lingering in their pipes could harbor legionella. As operators bring plumbing and HVAC systems systems back online, great care and attention is being focused on efforts to minimize risk from legionella.

Here are some pertinent communications on the topic.

New JACHO Standard

JACHO (the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) approved a standard (EC.02.05.02) which requires hospitals and nursing care centers to have a Water Management Program (WMP) that “addresses Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.” This has been updated as of March 19, 2021 and will become effective January 1, 2022. The Joint Commission is well known to people who work in the health care industry.

cooling tower cleaning

VHA Updates Requirements

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has updated Directive 1061, “Prevention of Health Care-Associated Legionella Disease and Scald Injury from Water Systems.” It’s available here.

The VHA also issued a new cooling tower standard in February: VHA Document ES–2019–001, Cooling Tower Water Systems. It’s also available here.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued general information on water management programs for health care facilities regarding waterborne pathogens. Find more information here.

Chemtex Can Help You Prevent Waterborne Pathogens

Legionella has not gone away. While attention on this waterborne pathogen has been eclipsed by COVID-19, operators must be as diligent as ever in mitigating the health risks posed by Legionella, this goes for entire building water systems that are starting up again after a prolonged pause. This holds true for cooling towers, many of which are starting up in northern climates.

Please contact Chemtex. We can help minimize risk in cooling towers with our TRiM program. We can also help keep your systems functioning at their healthy best with a complete Water Management Program.


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