Legionella Control Services From Feedwater

Feedwater has vast experience in legionella treatment and we were helping in the prevention of Legionnaires’ Disease before most people had even heard of it. We remain the only UK water treatment company with our own in-house UKAS-accredited laboratory for legionella testing and analysis. Because of our experience and our commitment to protecting public health we were founder members of the Legionella Control Association (LCA) when it was established as the Code of Conduct Association in 1999.

Founder Members of the LCA

As founding members of the Legionella Control Association, you can be reassured you will receive expert advice and superb service to enable you to maintain your L8 Legionella control program.

In-House UKAS Legionella Lab

Unlike other water treatment companies, we have an in-house UKAS accredited microbiological laboratory which processes 10,000s of Legionella, E. Coli & Pseudomonas samples per year. This means if we find a problem we can react quickly, and provide you with all the help and guidance you need.

In-House L8, Water Hygiene & Risk Assessor Teams

We employ our own expertly trained support services teams, avoiding the risk of sub-contracting and ensuring the highest level of safety and service.

Chemical Expertise

We’ve been making high-quality water treatment biocides & Legionella control chemicals for over 40 years. We match the products to your needs to ensure total control.

Nationwide Consultancy Team

For our UK customers, we have a countrywide consultancy team available to give expert advice on L8 compliance, monitor your critical assets helping you improve efficiency, protect & increase the lifespan of your systems and save you money.

21st Century Water Treatment

Feedwater has invested heavily in developing intelligent electronic reporting, L8 audit friendly customer portals & advanced connected chemical dosing systems like our Activ-Ox Chlorine Dioxide System.

Water Testing Laboratory

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Advanced Chlorine Dioxide

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Legionella Control & Prevention

Feedwater provides a comprehensive range of products and services for legionella control in water systems and are specialists in Legionnaires Disease prevention.
Because of the significant risk to public health associated with Legionnaires’ Disease and Legionellosis, the control of the bacteria or legionella treatment is regulated by health and safety law in the UK and many other countries. In the UK it is covered by the COSHH regulations and ACoP L8 published by the HSE –

Legionella Control and Prevention

“Legionnaires’ Disease: The Control of Legionella Bacteria in Water Systems – Approved Code of Practice and Guidance (L8)” (see link below to download).

What is Legionellosis and Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ Disease is a form of pneumonia caused by inhaling tiny water droplets (aerosols) which are contaminated with Legionella bacteria. It is often fatal but is wholly preventable. Legionellosis is the name given to a range of illnesses caused by Legionella bacteria; as well as Legionnaires’ Disease they include Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever which are milder flu-like illnesses.

How do you get Legionella in water systems?

Legionella bacteria are commonly found in natural water systems such as rivers and lakes where their numbers are usually low and they pose little risk. They grow over a temperature range of 20°C to 45°C. Below this temperature, they survive dormant and as the temperature rises above 50°C they are progressively killed off and will not survive long at temperatures above 60°C. Their ideal growth temperature is around human body temperature, 37°C! Whilst Legionella bacteria are widely found in the natural environment the risk comes when they contaminate man-made water systems, entering at low levels in the incoming water supply or in air-borne aerosols. Many man-made water systems not only provide the ideal environment for legionella to multiply but also involve water sprays which can release dangerous aerosols into the atmosphere.

What does legionella need to thrive?

As well as a water temperature of 20°C to 45°C legionella bacteria need a supply of nutrients which are usually provided by other microbes which are commonly found in the water. In particular, there is a strong relationship between biofilms (microbial slimes), amoebae and the growth of Legionella. Biofilms flourish in warm, stagnant water. As a general rule legionella likes dirty systems which are fouled with corrosion products and scale and dislikes clean water systems.

Breaking the Legionella Chain!

There is a four-step chain of events which need to take place for someone to catch Legionnaires’ disease and which provide the basis of assessing and minimising the risk. If this chain is broken at any point you will prevent legionella disease.

Step 1 – A water system becomes contaminated with Legionella bacteria

Certain water sources, such as untreated river or canal water, are more likely than others to contain legionella bacteria and will, therefore, increase the risk. However, it is not safe to assume that a treated incoming water supply is free from Legionella and indeed you should assume that all water systems will become contaminated with low levels of legionella at some point.

Step 2 – Legionella multiply within the water system

Whilst it may be almost impossible to prevent a water system being contaminated with low levels of legionella it is entirely possible to prevent them multiplying to dangerous levels and it is important therefore to devise control measures to control their growth. The nature of those control measures will vary from system to system. In the case of domestic water systems this will involve keeping the hot water hot and the cold water cold and avoiding warm water conditions. In the case of a cooling tower, this will involve an effective chemical water treatment programme. In all cases, it will involve trying to avoid stagnant water conditions and keeping the water system clean and free from a build-up of deposits.

Whilst addressing all of the links in the chain is important, preventing legionella multiplying is undoubtedly the most important.

Step 3 – Contaminated aerosols need to be released to the atmosphere

It doesn’t matter how many Legionella a water system contains if they are never released as an aerosol that someone can breath-in. A legionella risk assessment should, therefore, consider what the potential is for aerosols to be produced during both normal and abnormal usage (such as maintenance). Aerosols are generated by water sprays, air bubbles bursting through the water surface and by water splashing against a hard surface. In certain instances it may be possible to eliminate the risk by eliminating the process that produces the aerosol, or by reducing the quantity of aerosols that are released, but in many instances such as a domestic shower that isn’t possible and therefore the risk has to be minimised by focusing on preventing the multiplication of Legionella within the water system.

Step 4 -Susceptible people inhale contaminated aerosols

The final step in the chain is for a susceptible person to breath-in enough contaminated aerosols to cause legionellosis. Individuals’ susceptibility varies and there are a number of factors which increase it:

  • Men are 2 to 3 times more susceptible than women
  • Increasing age – (people over 45 are generally more susceptible)
  • Existing poor health – Smoking, alcoholism, diabetes, cancer, respiratory conditions etc.

Legionella Control with Chlorine Dioxide

Consider a Chlorine Dioxide dosing system for your Legionella treatment, Feedwater’s patented Activ-Ox system is safe simple and highly effective for disinfecting water systems from all manner of bugs and bacteria. Activ-Ox is used in hundreds of sites in the UK and abroad to control Legionella as part of our clients ACoP L8 compliance efforts and is a highly effective means of long term control. To learn more about the FDA approved Activ Ox system and watch the video please visit our Chlorine Dioxide page.

Why not Chlorine?

Chlorine dioxide does not produce any carcinogenic byproducts like chlorine when used in the purification of drinking water that contains natural organic compounds such as humic and fulvic acids, chlorine tends to form halogenated disinfection by-products such as tri-halo-methanes (THMs). Drinking water containing such disinfection by-products has been shown to increase the risk of cancer.

Chlorine Dioxide works differently to chlorine; its action is one of pure oxidation rather than halogenation, so these halogenated by-products are not formed.

Legionella Control Services from Feedwater

We have a comprehensive range of products and have a dedicated team of consultants, scientists and technicians so we can provide cost effective legionella treatment and control services to meet your needs. Follow the links below to find out more.

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