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Frank Sidari, Vice President on Consulting Special Pathogens Laboratory, mentioned at the NFMT Orlando the new ASHRAE Standard has elevated the focus on water quality and Legionella in healthcare and commercial buildings. System operators are faced with decisions regarding risk management associated with operation and maintenance of water systems in their facilities.

Scientist working at the laboratory. Screen image of molecule made by myself

Some of the major objectives uncovered in the session with Frank Sidari were as follows:

  1. The science behind common Legionella questions
  2. Identify water system issues that can impact water quality
  3. Understand the benefits of a proactive approach to water system risk management
  4. Learn about the new ASHRAE Standard 188 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems

Let’s take a closer look at these individually.

How Legionella could be affecting your facility

First off, Legionella bacteria is generally found in hospital water systems, large high rise buildings, and residential homes. It is most common in warm water systems such as, faucets, hot water tanks, decorative fountains, pools, spas, and cooling towers.

Preventive measures can be taken such as performing a rapid test or a clinical survey, but other measures can be taken to protect your assets from being affected.

Replacement of plastic parts, for instance, within your faucet systems can reduce the risk of Legionella bacteria growing inside of your tubes. Tempered water is favorable for Legionella growth. Facility owners under construction need to be careful as well because renovation or construction can increase your chances of being exposed to Legionella.

Some additional benefits to being proactive when it comes to protecting your facility from Legionella:

  1. Validates efficacy
  2. Documented changes and updates to systems
  3. Controlled costs
  4. Agreed on actions

The new ASHRAE standards outlines specific requirements, including analysis, determining critical control points, monitoring procedures and documentation. This standard is under the responsibility of the building manager. This documentation can be recorded using an EAM/CMMS.

EAM/CMMS working for you

Seagulls surrounding the high tech water management and protection structure of the Oosterschelde Storm flood barrier

EAM tracks the entire enterprise asset portfolio, including IT and physical assets, equipment and buildings, fixed assets and consumables, while CMMS tracks a subset of that.

EAM will track the life cycle of your water system allowing staff to prepare for maintenance in the future to protect not only your assets but your consumers, which is where CMMS comes into play by focusing on the equipment life.

Instead of waiting for a problem to arise or fixing it at a higher cost, you have the ability to put a plan in place and implement the use of an EAM/CMMS. This will put your business in control and the ability to manage the quality of your water on your schedule not someone or something else’s.

In conclusion, Legionella is something that can be prevented if the proper maintenance plan is put in place; are you willing to take the risk with your water system?