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At the first glance, guidelines may lead engineers and facility operators to conclude that controlling Legionella bacteria in plumbing systems can be accomplished long-term by simply raising water heater temperatures.

As with any solution that appears easy and cheap, it is important to check the fine print.


Disinfection systems can be installed in a building’s plumbing to minimize Legionella bacteria in the water delivered to faucets, showers, and drinking fountains. Commonly used technologies inject a chemical (the disinfectant) into the water supply shortly after it enters the building, into the hot water system at or near the water heaters, or into both.

Disinfection systems have been in the spotlight recently because Legionnaires' disease was identified among patients of a VA hospital in Pittsburgh even though it had disinfection equipment (copper-silver ionization) installed in its plumbing.


Legionnaires'-related lawsuits are not uncommon, in part because the disease is entirely environmental — it isn’t contracted from another person but by exposure to Legionella bacteria transmitted from water in plumbing systems, cooling towers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.

When operators of hospitals, nursing homes, apartment buildings, and hotels have been sued because of Legionnaires' disease allegedly associated with their building, they have relied on their insurance coverage to pay the settlement (or, in rare instances, the jury verdict) — which can run in the millions — as well as fees and expenses for attorneys and experts. In recent years, though, some insurance companies have attempted to deny coverage based on policy exclusions for pollution or bacteria.


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"Preparing to Develop a Legionella HACCP Water Plan"

Online training for facility operators, engineers, water treatment specialists, and health officials

"Very informative. This will help develop our water safety plan." Jake Olson, Denver Health

"This course should be a requirement for anyone who is trying to prevent or eradicate Legionella from building water systems." - Ken Juillet, Blue Earth Labs

"This course provides very useful tips and a step-by-step guide for developing a HACCP Water Plan. The design and platform of the course is user-friendly." Ben Lam, Hong Kong

"A must for any water treatment professional." - Patrick Racine, P.Eng., CEM, Business Development Manager, Eldon Water, Inc.

More Information

"Deciding Whether to Test for Legionella"

Matt Freije addressed this topic in a webinar presented on June 4th. Click below to view the webinar at no charge.

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