We are all familiar with news stories about outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease contracted via water systems in large public buildings. But wherever the conditions are right, the Legionella bacteria will thrive, and there have been (thankfully rare) instances where people have contracted Legionnaires’ from more unexpected or ‘everyday’ situations.
The ideal temperature for the water in a hot tub is around 36-37oC. While this is a lovely temperature for humans to relax in, it is also an ideal temperature for Legionella, and the steam or mist from the water is the perfect way for the bacteria to infect people; which is exactly what happened in Texas earlier this year. It is therefore absolutely vital for owners to properly disinfect their hot tub in order to protect everyone using it.
Even though the temperature of the water in swimming pools is lower than in hot tubs, legionella can still thrive, especially if there are areas where puddles of water or slime can accumulate. Outbreaks are unsurprisingly more prevalent in the summer months, so if you are in charge of a pool, make sure it is regularly scrubbed and disinfected in order to decrease the likelihood of anyone becoming infected.
Garden water butts
They seem to be a great way to collect rainwater to water the garden, but it has been found that a massive 95% of water butts contain the legionella bacteria. When watering the garden with saved water, take extra care not to breathe in any droplets. Use a watering can to collect and distribute the water, not a sprinkler or hose pipe, as both are more likely to throw breathable droplets into the air.
In the summer, you need to be very careful using your garden hose. In 2017, one man died after contracting the disease through infected water from his garden hose. The hose had been left out in the sunshine, resulting in the ideal breeding conditions for legionella – stagnant water and a warm atmosphere.
On a really hot summer’s day, the thought of walking through a cooling mist of water is very tempting. But in 2017 it is likely that visitors to Disneyland in California were unfortunate enough to inhale legionella bacteria by doing this, which led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease affecting 22 people.
If you are concerned about your water system, contact us to talk about our commercial testing, cleaning and chlorination services.