Legionella & Bacterial Pathogens
Hindmarsh Water Treatment has a dedicated team of specialist technicians experienced in dealing with Legionella and pathogen control on a day to day basis within reticulated cold, warm and hot water systems all over Australia.
We support aged care facilities, hospitals, education, child care centres, the government and industry to carry out carefully designed legionella risk management plans.
For the management and control of Legionella and other pathogens, we specialise in reticulated and stored water systems.
We concentrate on controlling the environment to limit Legionella and microbial growth for long term and sustainable control. We do not recommend mass sampling regimes on systems, but rather a measured proactive approach in dealing with the ecology of the environment. This involves a holistic approach to system engineering and operations. Together with ongoing programmed and recorded flushing regimes, we recommend taking representative samples from low usage areas on a six monthly basis to validate that legionella control methods are working correctly.
We recommend that a full site survey and Water Safety & Risk Management plan be undertaken to determine the risks associated with Legionella and other public health risks, and our people are available to assist with this process.
Legionella Disease in Australia
Legionella infections (Legionelloses) are notifiable diseases in all jurisdictions in Australia. A notifiable disease requires the mandatory reporting of clinically diagnosed cases of disease to regulatory authorities within 24 hours of confirmed diagnosis. An average 1.5 – 2.5 cases per 100,000 population are reported each year in Australia. These figures are consistent with other countries with similar Legionella control regulations internationally. At least 50% of these cases are attributable to sporadic cases of disease, such as those associated with health care facilities.
An average of 49 cases of Legionnaire’s disease were reported in South Australia over the last 5 years. Of these, roughly 50% of the cases were associated with building water systems rather than other sources, such as cooling towers or potting mixes.
European data suggests that between 15% and 20% of notified cases of disease are associated with healthcare facilities. This would equate to as much as 90 cases of disease per annum in Australia. Advances in treatment of the disease have meant that the fatality rate has dropped from between 20% and 25% of cases to between 10% and 15% of cases. However, fatalities associated with healthcare premises can be as high as 40% due to the health status of those infected. This would equate to 30+ fatal cases of disease in healthcare facilities annually. You can see details of notifications to the right.
Global estimates are that approximately 65% of health care facilities have detectable Legionella contamination. Systems where Legionella bacteria have previously been detected are significantly more likely to experience cases of disease. In the majority of cases where Legionella bacteria are detected in a healthcare facility, the contamination is systemic. This means that the system is colonised throughout.
As the chart to the right demonstrates, there has been a continuing upward trend in notifications over the past two decades. It is suggested that the reasons for this increasing trend are in part due to better diagnostic techniques, but also due to the increasing aged population and persons with compromised immune systems. It is proposed that notified cases of disease are an underestimate and that the upward trend is likely to continue. Global opinion is that Legionella infections from building water system are preventable but require a concerted effort on the part of the facility operators and maintenance staff to focus on water treatment and management.
We pursue excellence in legionella & bacterial control in:
- Cold Water
- Warm Water
- Hot Water
- Stored Water
- Mobile Water
- System Management
- Water Safety and Risk Management
- Desktop Water Safety Audits from Hydraulic Drawings
- System & Environment Modifications
- Hydraulic Design – Bacterial
- Thermostatic Mixing Valves
- Tempering Valves
- System Decontaminations
- Continuous Dosing