According to CNN, Increased cases of legionella were found in the region around Disneyland and local businesses were tipped off by the center for health. Disney did a fantastic job of answering the call and completing advanced bacteria testing on their system water. But, the results were not ideal …
Elevated levels of Legionella were found living in the system water according to various news sources and Disney.
Can facilities like Disney have done anything beyond their current water treatment plan to proactively avoid elevated levels of Legionella?
Based on my past experience and opinion, I think many large buildings and facilities could do more .
Let’s go back in time, shall we?
In 2011, the Aria Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip faced a similar situation. They fell victim to a Legionella outbreak. Unfortunately, four guests were exposed between June 21 and July 4.
The Saving Grace
What Aria probably did was play offense from the get-go. Per various news sources, The Aria Resort had previously done a thorough risk assessment, put together outbreak action plans, and added proper secondary disinfection to their systems.
When the victims sued the resort, It was proven in court that Aria had done everything in their power to mitigate any legionella outbreaks, and no punitive damages were awarded.
Fast-forward back to “today”, can large buildings and facilities improve on their water treatment?
In any large system, these are common hurdles you could face:
- Many water treatment companies don’t do regular bacteria testing – only chlorine level testing.
- Chlorine has no residual effects – as soon as it hits bacteria it becomes neutral.
- Biofilm grows back as soon as you are done hyper-chlorinating a piping network.
- Dead legs in the piping network can’t deliver chemicals to the breading spots.
In my opinion – big buildings and facilities should do a complete risk assessment of their domestic and process water systems. At a high level it looks like this:
- Overall piping schematic.
- Identifying dead legs and improper piping runs.
- Identifying water heaters, mixing valves, all distill points, etc.
- Auditing all points on the water system and rank for priority fixes.
- Cataloging all distill points in our testing software for random legionella tests.
- Developing a legionella CDC approved testing and an action plan.
Just like what’s happening in the news today, you may have increased levels of Legionella in your system and are not aware of it.
Happily Ever After?
Here are several steps to maximize the fight against Legionella in system water:
- Install air-inlet screens on all cooling towers to minimize dirt and debris intake.
- Add dirt and air separators in your piping network.
- Including a proper water filtration system.
- Adopt an EPA approved Copper/Silver Ionization technology to destroy bacteria
- Add a secondary disinfection system
Midwest Machinery is passionate about keeping your domestic and system water clean.
Are you 100% confident your business is doing everything possible to prevent water-borne bacteria?