Legionella is a type of bacteria that can grow and spread through a building water system where small droplets of water containing Legionella can spread and be inhaled by people – this is known as Legionnaire’s’ Disease and is a serious illness. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of multiple cities, it is now reported that dozens of schools, offices, hotels, and restaurants are noticing the detection of Legionella in their water systems. Due to bathrooms, showerheads, taps, cooling towers, water fountains, etc. being unused, the water is stagnant in the plumbing and creating a breeding ground for the bacteria to grow.
To all property owners and managers, it is important to undertake the risk-mitigation measures to help prevent an additional outbreak of the Legionnaires’ disease. Now, on top of providing COVID-19 guidelines, the CDC has issued Legionella guidelines. These guidelines include:
- When reopening buildings, develop a building water-management plan to evaluate all uses of water
- Participate in “flushing,” a process that involves bringing fresh water into systems through running all tap, shower, and toilet systems
- Sanitize pipes and disinfect cooling towers, hot water heaters, and other water-using devices
- Check with your local water utility to exacerbate water quality issues
While many businesses are on the verge of reopening/have just reopened, it is important for property owners and managers to discuss this issue with their clients. For more information, check out: https://blog.distinguished.com/index.php/2020/09/risk-of-legionella-after-covid-closures/and https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html
- Fontenelle & Goodreau Insurance, LLC