Schools And Legionella: Is My Building Safe?
This past year has been unlike any other. School buildings have been closed, dealing with hybrid schedules, and juggling through the ever-changing landscape of following COVID-19 protocols. Recently, more and more school districts are moving towards full capacity for the first time in over a year. With this brings about many safety challenges to protect students and staff, but one danger that is often overlooked is the domestic water. When domestic water systems are left stagnant and unused, bacteria flourishes and grows, creating a breeding ground for Legionella bacteria.
The CDC warns that stagnant water can allow hot water levels to decrease to the Legionella growth range (77–108°F, 25–42°C) and decrease levels of residual disinfectant in the water system. With prolonged time between full occupancy in schools over the past year, it is imperative that steps are taken to ensure the buildings’ water system is safe.
What Can I Do To Protect My School Building From Legionella?
One of the first steps to take in protecting your schools is to sample water systems for Legionella and other bacteria before occupancy resumes. Running bacterial tests determines the current safety of the water system. With testing comes a clearer picture of the current risk associated with a building, and with an extended time of unoccupancy, points of use like faucets, drinking fountains, and locker room showers should be tested prior to full occupancy.
Another step to take would be the consistent flushing of stagnant areas of water. As the CDC recommends, limiting stagnant areas of water limits the chance for a buildup of Legionella bacteria. The CDC also estimates that 50% of buildings in the US have Legionella bacteria present in the water system, so taking steps to limit the chance for this naturally occurring organism to grow is important.
Chardon can partner with you to help reduce the risk of Legionella exposure in your school building. Contact Chardon Legionella Solutions for questions or more information on sampling for bacteria in your building.