Since the discovery of Legionella bacteria in 1976 Legionella Testing has been made a requirement under good practice guidelines such as those of the HSE in the UK and a requirement under law in many countries for industries operating water systems. The bacterium gained its name from the incident and victims of the first recorded outbreak in Philadelphia after an American Legion taking part in a veteran’ conference were subjected to the airborne bacteria from the air conditioning ventilation system, since then the name and risks of the bacteria has increased in public awareness to the point today where prevention is seen as an integral part of industrial responsibility.
How to test for Legionella
Legionella Testing can be performed easily with the help of a service company who offer a postal testing service. You should be able to send off for a Legionella sampling package which will include appropriate sterile bottles and come with comprehensive instructions on performing a sufficient and encompassing round of sampling. You should also receive return packaging with a prepaid postage label to ensure swift results. This method can allow for results as soon as the next working day to be emailed to you. This method can be as simple as selecting a sample point and taking a sample, once done your samples should be dispatched same day to the laboratory including details to contact you with. The next working day the sample is processed and results emailed to you in pdf format. The results will be explained fully with advice on what action should be undertaken should any be needed.
More hands on legionella testing can be undertaken by a legionella testing service usually on a one off or contract basis but will obviously come at greater cost, this avenue is certainly worth pursuing for peace of mind should you be unsure about undertaking any part of the testing process as sampling points can be identified more proficiently by a competent trained expert.
Next step control
If you receive your results and find you have a Legionella positive you will need to take remedial action to prevent the cause. You must ensure you have an up to date Legionella Risk Assessment, if you don’t have one or expect yours is out of date please contact us. In most cases you should have already had a risk assessment performed by a competent person trained to do so such as a legionella testing company or by a trained member of your staff (despite what you may be told such assessments can be performed by staff as long as they are competent to do so.) You can find out more on awareness and training at the end of this article. A risk assessment should be performed every two years or sooner if there is reason to suspect changes to the system have invalidated your last assessment. Your next step is to implement a comprehensive legionella control scheme, this can be done with the help of a Legionella control company who can take on much of the responsibility for ensuring the risk to the public is as minimal as possible and ensure you remain ACoP L8 compliant and aren’t breaking the law.
Feedwater Ltd is a UK water treatment company and founding member of the Legionella control association. Feedwater remain the only UK water treatment company to have an in-house UKAS accredited legionella testing laboratory. We also provide risk assessments and control services as well as offering Legionella awareness and training courses to allow companies to train staff to perform assessments without assistance. For more information follow the link to find out more on our Legionella testing service.