Water Hygiene – Legionnaires’ Disease

Blood sample positive with legionella

The Association has a duty to assess the risk from exposure to Legionella to ensure the safety of its tenants.  However, this does not require an in-depth, detailed Legionella assessment.  The risks from hot and cold water systems in most residential settings with combi boilers and modern showers etc. are generally considered to be very low due to regular water usage and turnover and there are no real risks.  For most domestic hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised i.e. keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving.

The Association has control measures in place such as a 24/7 365 days Repairs Service to respond to any heating or water issues and as the majority of our properties have Gas Combi boilers installed these are also subject to an annual Gas Safe Service.  Instantaneous electric showers pose even less of a risk as they are generally cold water-fed and heat only small volumes of water during operation.

It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there is careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods.  Outlets on hot and cold water systems are used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation.

The Association employs a company called Integrated Compliance who carry out monthly and / or quarterly Water Monitoring checks of our Operational and leased buildings, where there are communal areas.

We also review our Legionella Risk Assessment on an annual basis and update it if anything changes.

Abertay has produced a leaflet providing information about water hygiene and how to prevent Legionnaires’ Disease. It is available here.


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