Legionella Prevention in Hotels, Healthcare Industries and Public Hot Tub Operators

 

Legionnaires’ Disease or LD is a severe and potentially fatal disease that attacks the lungs. 

It is spread by inhaling or drinking water that’s been contaminated with the bacteria called Legionella. This bacteria thrives in buildings with poorly managed water systems.

As such, to reduce the spread of this bacteria, effective water management is a must. This is your responsibility as a building owner. Here are some guidelines to help you out.

Monitoring your Building Water

Regular monitoring is important to prevent hazardous conditions that may cause Legionella and other bacteria to thrive.  Among the most important measures to regulate are water temperature, pH, and disinfectant levels.

To make sure such measures are met, performing a regular routine sampling is important. This will validate the effectiveness of your water management program. It’s the best preventive measure you can take. 

Now, what do you do when you detect Legionella in your water?

It’s time to take some corrective actions. Identify the root cause of the problem, and address it immediately.

The corrective action could be as simple as adjusting the water’s temperature level to something more tedious as flushing the pipes. 

But, identifying the cause may not be that easy. 

A revolutionary way to do so is with our Water Temperature Sensor. 

The S1 Sensor is the most highly-advanced sensor on the market today. Built with state-of-the-art features, you are guaranteed accurate readings every single time.

But first, what is a water temperature sensor?

A water temperature sensor is a tool you can use to test the chemistry of your water. It checks its rate of photosynthesis, oxygen levels, and most importantly, the presence of organisms and bacteria such as Legionella.

Before temperature sensors came to be, people would monitor these factors by manually tracking the saturation levels of water. This task is not only arduous but prone to human error as well. To make matters worse, a simple error is enough to get someone extremely sick.

Thankfully, modern water temperature sensors are now available to conduct these checks with accuracy and precision. These automated systems allow you to easily identify Legionella growth in your water.

With the hundreds of water temperature sensors today, it’s important to know which one is the best for you. Which one is the most effective, accurate, and long-standing? To help you identify the most suitable sensor for you, here are some guidelines:

Accurate and Round the Clock Monitoring

This is the most crucial aspect: the water sensor has to be able to do its job. Monitoring the chemistry of your water is the hardware’s priority number one. So if a sensor can’t even do that, move on to the next one.

This is what makes the S1 Smart Sensor appealing to all water management teams. It’s digital, wireless, over-the-air technology provides accurate readings everyday. Yes, this sensor operates for 24 hours a day. This is why it’s a cut above the rest. It’s innovation and technology at its finest. 

Reliable Battery

What is the point of having an accurate water sensor if it dies on your every hour or so? For argument’s sake, let’s say that you can easily change the battery to make the system running again. But, the problem with that is, it’s hard to notice when your system stops operating. 

Has it been out for hours, or just minutes? That period where your water chemistry goes unchecked is enough to cause imbalance. 

Fortunately, the S1 Wireless Water Temperature Sensor has a battery power that lasts for over a decade. Thanks to its low consumption and battery-preserving features, you can rely on it for 10 years and more!

A Wide Range Distance

You also want your sensor to have a wide area of coverage. With a 22-kilometer reach, the S1 Wireless Water Temperature Sensor has an unparalleled range.

In addition, the sensor is also linked to a mobile platform called L8log. It allows you to monitor your water temperature levels through your phone or computer! Whether near or far, you can use it to check your water at any time. 

Dependable Operating Temperature

Fourth, you want your water temperature system to have reliable hardware. Flimsy sensors won’t last through extreme conditions. The S1 Water Temperature Sensor has a durable casing that can operate between -40 to 125 degrees Celsius. Hot or cold, it’s designed to withstand harsh temperature conditions. 

Prevention in Hotels 

Legionnaires disease is a severe infection in the lungs. While some patients recover from it, some don’t. 

Did you know that this serious disease kills one out of ten people? It’s severe enough if your hotel is contaminated, you will have to shut it down until the problem is solved. 

That’s why it’s imperative as a hotel or resort owner to make sure your water supply is not contaminated. As they say, prevention is better than cure. Don’t let your water supply be polluted with Legionella. Proper water management will not only keep you, your employees, and your guests safe, but will also help you avoid a lawsuit.

Here are the steps you need to take to control and manage your building’s water supply:

  1. Determine areas in your property where Legionella can thrive.
  2. Reduce the risks of this happening by regularly monitoring your water system, especially in those areas.
  3. The moment you identify a risk, act on it immediately.

Equip yourself with all the tools you need to combat Legionella:

  1. Learn all about it. The more information you have, the more armed you are against it.
  2. Learn how to prevent it. As mentioned, prevention is better than cure. Keep your water safe as best as you can.
  3. Get help. Once you identify the presence of Legionella in your water, seek professional assistance right away.

Managing your Building 

There are many areas in your hotel or resort where Legionella can spread. Keep in mind that even the smallest droplets are enough to infect someone. 

Legionella thrives best in still water with a warm temperature. It can also manifest in waters that do not contain enough disinfectant to kill it. 

Not many may know this, but this deadly disease has had an increased rate since 2000! If we do not do something today, these numbers will only get higher.

Make sure to regularly monitor the water levels in the following areas in your hotel.

  1. Cooling Towers. Especially when the water’s disinfectant level is at a minimum, cooling tower fans could possibly spray contaminated water all over your building. 
  2. Showers. Particularly the showerheads. Legionella can not only spread but grow through these hardwares as well. Be sure to clean it and regulate the water regularly.
  3. Unused Floors. Water flow tends to decrease in areas with low occupancy. Reduced water flow can mean a lowered disinfectant level as well. The lower the disinfectant level is, the higher the probability for Legionella to grow.
  4. Hot Tubs. As we’ve mentioned, Legionella loves warm water. If you do not maintain your hotel or resort’s hot tubs regularly, it can promote the growth of Legionella.
  5. Fountains. Especially if your fountains are situated in warm areas. Splashing contaminated water will cause the disease to spread.

Also, you want to be wary of water supply interruptions. For instance, nearby constructions may cause dirt to enter your water system and use up most if not all of its disinfectant. In cases like this, it’s important to add more disinfectant to your water supply.

Prevention in Healthcare Industries 

Apart from hotels and resorts, healthcare industries are also prone to Legionella. Since these facilities have the primary function of healing the sick, Legionella prevention and detection is more crucial than anywhere else.

As a leader, here are the steps you need to take to make sure that your facility is safe from Legionella:

  1. Form a team whose sole purpose is to keep your water supply safe from Legionella and other organisms. 
  2. With the help of your team, create an effective water management program to prevent waterborne germs and bacteria from growing and thriving in your facility.
  3. Communicate with your healthcare employees to identify the onset of LD cases in the facility. And then, identify whether the case is caused by your water supply. Report such cases to the authorities right away.

Prevention for Public Hot Tub Operators 

As we have previously discussed, hot tubs are a hot spot for Legionella. As such, hot tub operators have a responsibility to regularly monitor their amenities and water supply for Legionella and other germs and bacteria.

The combination of low water volume, high temperature, and a large quantity of bathers will cause the disinfectant levels in your water to decrease. As such, Legionella can easily thrive in your hot tub.

When this happens, Recreational Water Illnesses or RWI’s may occur. Not only will it harm your guests, but your business as well. We’re talking lawsuits and loss of hundreds of thousands here! 

That’s why prevention from contamination is key. The best way to prevent contamination is to maintain a good water quality supply. Hot tub operators who know exactly how to do a fine job at keeping their guests safe from disease.

If you are a hot tub operator, it is highly recommended that you adhere to the Model Aquatic Health Code. These guidelines list the best practices to abide by when owning a hot tub and swimming facilities. This will aid both local and state authorities, as well as the aquatics sector provide safe, clean, and healthy water activities.

To avoid growth and spread of Legionella in their facilities, hot tub and swimming pool operators are expected to:

  1. Attend local or state authority-certified training for water facility operation and chemical handling. These training courses will provide you professional certification to conduct your business.
  2. Make sure that professionally trained staff are available during operations, especially on peak days and hours. Hot tub facilities are most often visited during the weekends, so extra manpower is highly needed on such days.
  3. Ensure that your water contains appropriate levels of bromine and chlorine at all times. 
  4. The water pH level must also be constantly maintained at 7.2 to 7.8. Regular checks of at least two times a day must be performed to monitor pH levels. During peak days and hours, these checks must be conducted more frequently — ideally, every hour.
  5. Keep updated and accurate records of pH and disinfectant levels in the water. Traci maintenance activities as well. 
  6. Adhere to recirculation and filtration guidelines as recommended by hot tub manufacturers.
  7. Inspect and clean various components of your recirculation system as often as necessary to eliminate layers of slime.
  8. Perform regular cleaning and scrubbing of surfaces to get rid of slime, dirt, and mildew.
  9. Do not go beyond the maximum capacity of bathers. Strictly enforce load limitations.
  10. Drain water every week or month. The frequency of water drainage and replacement should be dependent on the quality of the water and how often your tub is used.
  11. Be sure to clean or replace your water filter equipment prior to refilling your tub with water.
  12. Perform a daily or weekly biocidal shock treatment on your hot tub. The frequency shall depend on the quality of the water as well as how often you replace it.
  13. Have a preventive maintenance program in place. Replace parts or equipment as often as needed to avoid failure during use. Parts include but are not limited to sensor probes and feed tubing.
  14. Have and adhere to disinfection guidelines in the event of fecal or body fluid spillage.
  15. Have a clear communication line for issue reporting and handling.
  16. Cover hot tubs when not in use: this will reduce the possibility of a decline in disinfectant levels. This can also avoid contamination from external dirt and debris.
  17. Provide training to guests and users on how to appropriately handle your hot tub.

Additional Safety Guidelines for Hot Tub Operators:

  1. Do not let the temperature of the water go beyond 104 degrees Fahrenheit or 40 degrees Celsius.
  2. Children below five years old should not be allowed to use hot tubs.
  3. Pregnant women must obtain a physician’s approval prior to hot tub use, especially during the first trimester.
  4. If possible, safely cover your tubs when not in use.
  5. Avoid entrapment accidents by adhering to the proper drain configurations.
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Mihaita
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