UKAS accredited Legionella testing services and water analysis with quick results
uRisk is a water hygiene company that specialises in Legionella services to control the risk of Legionnaires’ disease including an initial ACOP l8 risk assessment, Legionella testing, water tank cleaning, legionella remedial services, water monitoring/remote monitoring and chlorination services; we now also offer a handy DIY Legionella testing kit which you can use to test for peace of mind as an initial water safety measure. We have over 25 years experience in water safety and all our water sampling is done in accordance with the British Standards BS7592 and HSE guidelines to give you the most accurate results possible. All of our engineers are DBS checked and City & Guilds qualified.
Testing for Legionella
Legionella testing and water analysis is the process of taking a water sample, in a sterilised bottle (with sodium thiosulphate) for a true reading, before sending the water sample onto our UKAS accredited laboratory for quick analysis and fast results. The laboratory will identify the presence or absence of Legionella in the water sample collected, along with the bacterial count and Legionella species present. It is important to bear in mind that for accurate results, the water samples must be taken at the right points within the water system and you need to know where to take those Legionella samples from. This means understanding your water system’s design and risk areas. You should also only ever use one sterilised bottle per outlet to avoid mixing samples from two different points. If you are not sure what to do to meet your legal requirements, then contact us today for specialist Legionella testing guidance. The purpose of testing water samples is to mitigate the risk of Legionnaires’ disease which is a result of the Legionella bacteria growing in the water system and can be fatal so should be taken seriously.
When to test for Legionella
According to the HSE guidelines “water samples should be analysed for Legionella periodically to demonstrate that bacteria counts are acceptable.” It is important for you to know as well that Legionella testing is not a replacement for a full risk assessment and should be used in conjunction with a risk assessment and other legionella control measures to mitigate the risks of infection. The HSE also states within the HSG274 pt2 legionella testing “should be carried out where there is doubt about the efficacy of the control regime or it is known that recommended temperatures, disinfectant concentrations or other precautions are not being consistently achieved throughout the system.” A full risk assessment would also register if there is a need for water samples to be taken.
In both hot and cold water systems, samples should be taken:
- If considered necessary by the risk assessment;
- from areas where the target control parameters are not met (i.e. where disinfectant levels are low or where temperatures are below 50°C (55°C in healthcare premises) for HWS or exceed 20°C for cold water systems);
- from areas subject to low usage, stagnation, excess storage capacity, dead legs, excessive heat loss, cross flow from water system or other anomaly.
In cold water systems, samples should also be taken as required:
- from the point of entry (or nearest outlet) if the water is supplied from a private water supply or where the temperature of the incoming mains supply is above 20°C from the cold water storage tank or tanks;
- from the furthest and nearest outlet on each branch of the system (far and near sentinel outlets).
In hot water systems, samples should be taken as required:
- from the calorifier hot water outlet and from the base of the calorifier, if it is safe to do so, as some systems are under considerable pressure;
- from the furthest and nearest outlet on each branch of a single pipe system (far and near sentinel outlets);
- from the furthest and nearest outlet on each loop of a circulating system (far and near sentinel outlets).
Legionella bacteria can be found in natural environments including ponds, rivers and lakes. The bacteria can also be supplied in small amounts within the mains water supply. Where there is water and the conditions of creating water droplets (aerosols), people using or within the area of these services may be at risk. It is this bacteria found in the water supply which is the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.
Legionnaires’ disease is a form of pneumonia, which can be fatal. The most at risk are the very old and the very young, the ill and smokers to name a few. Legionella bacteria can also cause other, less harmful illness such as Pontiac fever and Lochgoilhead fever, which can affect all people. The main route of infection is through inhalation, by inhaling airborne water droplets that contain Legionella. It cannot be spread from person to person. The majority of cases or outbreaks of the disease have been via domestic water services, evaporative cooling towers, and spa pools.
Conditions and contributing factors to its growth include:
- Temperatures between 20-45°C
- Available nutrients (including sediment, biofilm, algae, scale, rust, material, etc.)
- Presence of biofilm on surfaces of water
- Poor or inadequate management including training and awareness
Regular water sampling is the most effective way to determine water quality and test for the presence of legionella bacteria. Without testing the water, you are unable to identify water quality and therefore you are unable to determine whether your water management and legionella control is sufficient. With periodic legionella testing, you are able to demonstrate that your water management and legionella control procedures are suitable and the water in your water system is fit for purpose.
All our water samples are tested in UKAS accredited laboratories as standard and we are able to carry out tests on a wide range of microbiological samples and chemical testing services. Below are just some of the water systems that we can test for Legionella:
- Drinking water (including water dispensers and coffee machines)
- Hot and cold water systems
- Cold water storage tanks
- Hot water cylinders
- Water heaters
- Dental units
- Swimming pools
- Spa baths
- Cooling towers
- Eye showers
- Eye wash units
- Water fountains
- Vending machines
- Closed water systems
Legionella Testing and Water Analysis Services
A qualified engineer will take legionella samples to British standards. From your legionella risk assessment they will identify the number of samples required and locations to take them from.
DIY Legionella Testing Kit
Receive your legionella testing kit (DIY) in the post. The package includes your sterile sample bottles, instructions, and a free pre-paid return package. Perfect for a non-intrusive, cost effective legionella sampling.
Subscription Testing Kits
Order repeat periodic legionella testing sample bottles to be scheduled for delivery when you want them: quarterly, six monthly or annually. Order your legionella testing kit (DIY) subscription today.
All payments are due prior to booking completion unless agreed in writing for 30 days from the date of invoice. We will hold your booking time for 24 hours whilst we await payment.
Why choose uRisk?
Over 25 years of water hygiene and legionella control experience.
Friendly and simple advice by phone, email & online at your convenience.
All staff are trained water hygiene consultants and engineers.
With engineers located all across the UK, we’re never too far away.
Our labs are UKAS approved providing you with quality assurance.
Your one stop shop for Legionella control, no need to go elsewhere.
Legionella Testing FAQs
Is Legionella testing a legal requirement?
No, legionella testing is not compulsory. The HSE’s Approved Code of Practice (ACoP L8) HSG 274, states that you are currently legally required to undertake an l8 risk assessment, but not water testing. However, whilst it is not compulsory, the HSG 274 confirms that the risk assessment may require or request that samples are taken for a variety of reasons and is recommended as part of your control measures.
Is testing for Legionella the same thing as an ACOP l8 risk assessment?
No, these are not the same thing and offer different benefits as part of an overall legionella control strategy. An L8 risk assessment is a legal requirement and helps to identify areas that pose a risk of legionella growth. Whereas legionella testing is not a legal requirement but is the only way to detect presence of legionella in the water system and therefore, plays a crucial role in legionella control. They are two different services for different purposes. Without a legionella risk assessment, legionella testing is carried out without the necessary information to undertake testing accurately.
How long do the results from the water samples take to come back?
Legionella testing takes 14 days, this allows the bacteria to be cultivated and meet requirements set in place by UKAS for the correct bacteria testing conditions. Once the testing is completed the reports are produced by our team thereafter. Results are sent as soon as they become available and have been reviewed.
How much does testing & water sampling cost?
Legionella testing starts from £40.00+VAT for a single bottle. There may be additional charges for site visits, delivery, postage or specialist guidance or advise.
Do landlords have to do Legionella testing?
No, landlords must undertake a legionella risk assessment in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. However, as guidelines state for commercial properties, legionella testing is recommended to determine legionella presents or as recommended by the legionella risk assessment, which is required.
How long does a Legionella certificate last?
A legionella certificate is a phrase that is used regularly but it has little meaning. You are required to have a risk assessment in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, COSHH, Management of Health and Safety at Work Act to name a few. This risk assessment is a live document that should be required periodically as required by law & the guidelines used to state an assessment was required every two years. After a legionella risk assessment you should be issued with a risk assessment report, and after a legionella test you should be issued with a legionella test sample report. Neither of these are certificates. Legionella is a bacteria that must be managed continuously, and therefore a one off certificate is insufficient to prove compliant and control of the bacteria.
Can I test for legionella myself?
Generally no. In order to test for legionella you will need experience in growing bacteria in laboratory conditions to specific standards for accurate results.
Do I need to test for legionella in my domestic water system?
If you are not making money from your property, e.g. letting a property, then the answer is no. There is currently no law to undertake legionella testing in private domestic properties. However, if you provide accommodation or let a property then you are required to ensure you meet all Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
Where do uRisk offer Legionella testing?
uRisk services are nationwide. Whether you have one or multiple water systems and one or multiple sites, we provide services across the country, with qualified engineers scattered throughout the UK and offices based in Hertfordshire which is a 30-minute train journey to London King’s Cross.
Are you looking to sub-contract your legionella services?
We work with a wide range of companies in a variety of industries who have used our sub-contracting services. These include: health and safety companies, facilities management companies, water hygiene, fire safety, asbestos, electrical companies and many more. Our services can be uRisk branded or white labelled depending on your preference. To learn more get in touch!