Legionella is found naturally in freshwater such as lakes and streams.
It becomes a health concern when it grows in man-made water systems that are not well maintained.
In addition, Legionella pneumophila risks can increase when plumbing-specific factors are inactive for prolonged periods of time.
The connection between Legionella pneumophila contamination and water stagnation in building distribution systems is well-known.
The organisms are consistently found in the biofilm that forms in aquatic environments, such as cooling towers and potable water systems.
Legionella grow and multiply in building water systems, spreading to people through small water droplets in the air that are small enough for people to breathe.
Legionella Water Management Program
Maintaining building water systems is essential to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and transmission. SELC works with customers to perform risk assessments for Legionella and develop Legionella water management plans in accordance with the risk management requirements set forth by ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188.
Medicare and Medicare/Medicaid-certified healthcare facilities are mandated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to perform risk assessments for Legionella sources. In addition, the facilities are to develop, implement and adhere to a water management program to prevent disease caused by Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.
Examples of building water systems for potential growth and spread of Legionella include: