How Often Should You Test for Legionella in Plumbing Systems?

Healthcare Facilities Today recently asked key water treatment experts an important question, “How often should you test legionella in plumbing systems?”

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As part of their investigation, they interviewed Chemstar WATER CEO, Cem Candir. Cem shared his perspective and insights from over ten years of providing water treatment solutions to the data center industry. He’s an excellent resource for those interested in better water treatment and sustainability and helped shape the conversation on why regular maintenance is critical to preventing the spread of legionella.

Read Cem’s recommendations as well as other industry experts below:

Question: How often should you test for Legionella? What ongoing maintenance can I do to prevent biofilm and Legionella growth in my plumbing?

Answer: ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems requires each building to be surveyed to determine if the building contains any devices or factors that could increase risk for legionellosis. ASHRAE 188 requires this survey for compliance to be conducted at least annually and any time renovations, additions, or modifications are made to the building. For healthcare facilities, which must comply with the requirements of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), each facility is also required to conduct a facility risk assessment to determine the potential for Legionella to grow and spread in the building water system. Only through this water management plan and risk assessment can facilities establish a thorough, ongoing operating rhythm to manage Legionella that would be unique to the facility.

Question: If my building has been empty for months, what steps do I need to take to prevent Legionella in my plumbing system before welcoming back occupants?

Answer: Flushing and disinfection will most likely be needed in accordance with specifications and requirements of American Water Works Association (AWWA) C651/652 or in compliance with applicable national, regional, and local regulations.

— Cem Candir, CEO of Chemstar WATER

Additional Legionella Resources: