- July 17, 2023
- Posted by: Zoe Jones
- Category: Legionella, News
Safeguarding Children’s Health
At Water Hygiene Services, we understand the critical role of facilities managers in ensuring the safety and well-being of the occupants within their buildings, particularly in educational facilities where children spend a significant amount of time. In this article, we aim to provide comprehensive information about the presence of Legionella bacteria in water systems and the measures we undertake to protect children from potential illnesses. By fostering a deeper understanding of the risks and solutions, we empower facilities managers to prioritise water hygiene and create a safer environment for students.
The Dangers of Legionella Bacteria:
Legionella, a naturally occurring bacteria, can be found in water and water systems, posing potential health risks. Illnesses associated with Legionella include Pontiac Fever, Lochgoilhead Fever, and Legionnaires’ disease. Although rare, these conditions can be contracted through domestic water systems, making it crucial for facilities managers to prioritize preventative measures.
Understanding the Risks:
To effectively address the risks associated with Legionella, it is important to have a clear understanding of how it spreads. Contrary to popular belief, Legionella cannot be contracted by drinking water; breathing in contaminated water droplets is the greatest risk. The breeding of Legionella bacteria is more likely to occur in stagnant water within hot and cold water tanks that have been left undisturbed for extended periods, particularly when the water temperature falls from 20°C to 45°C. Additionally, the presence of deposits, such as sludge, rust, scale, or dirt on taps and shower heads, increases the risk of bacterial growth.
Our Commitment to Ensuring Your Safety:
At Water Hygiene Services, we prioritise the safety and well-being of the children within educational facilities. We work with a range of schools and college on an ongoing basis to mitigate the risks associated with Legionella, we have implemented a range of comprehensive measures which include:
- Ongoing Monitoring: We closely monitor water temperatures to prevent the breeding of Legionella bacteria. Our approved contractors conduct monthly visits, setting control parameters such as maintaining the hot water cylinder’s temperature at 60°C to ensure optimal water storage conditions. Furthermore, we are planning remote monitoring software that enables 24/7 surveillance, ensuring prompt identification of any irregularities in water temperature.
- Thorough Risk Assessments: We conduct water hygiene risk assessments for communal water systems and void properties before they are occupied, ensuring that all potential risks are identified and addressed proactively.
- Flushing Protocols: Before letting a property, we perform thorough water system flushing to eliminate any stagnant water. This crucial step helps maintain optimal water quality and reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
- Redundant Pipework Removal: Our experts identify and remove any redundant pipework to eliminate potential breeding grounds for bacteria, minimizing the risk of Legionella contamination.
- Alternative Solutions: Whenever feasible, we install combi boilers and electric showers to eliminate the risk associated with stored water. These alternative systems significantly reduce the likelihood of Legionella proliferation, ensuring safer water usage.
Empowering Facilities Managers:
As a facilities manager responsible for the wellbeing of occupants within educational facilities, there are essential steps you can take to uphold water hygiene standards and protect children from potential health risks:
- Post-Absence Water Flushing: When returning to a building after a week or more, we recommend turning on the hot and cold taps in sinks, wash basins, and baths. Slowly run the water for one minute, followed by a two-minute rapid flow. Additionally, flushing toilets twice with the lid closed helps clear the water system of any stagnant water.
- Shower Hygiene: Remove the shower head and run the water for at least two minutes to cleanse the system. In cases where removing the shower head is not feasible, placing it in the bath or shower tray or covering it with a towel or plastic bag can prevent water droplets from dispersing into the air.
- Optimal Water Temperature: Set the hot water temperature at 60°C to discourage Legionella growth. For infrequently used bathrooms, it is advisable to run the water through all taps, including the sink, bath, shower, and toilet, every week or before someone uses the room, following the aforementioned flushing procedures.
- Regular Maintenance: Clean, disinfect, and descale all taps, toilets, and shower heads to ensure optimal water quality. Keeping these fixtures free from debris and scale prevents the accumulation of harmful substances and reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
- Water Tank and Cistern Maintenance: Maintain the lid on your water tank and toilet cistern to prevent external contaminants from entering the system and compromising water hygiene.
Contact us for Support:
In your commitment to maintaining water hygiene standards and safeguarding children’s health , it is crucial to remain vigilant and proactive. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you encounter any of the following situations:
- Contaminated Water: If the water coming out of your taps, shower, or toilet contains debris or appears discolored, it is essential to seek immediate assistance to address the issue.
- Malfunctioning Boiler or Hot Water Tank: Should you encounter any issues with your boiler or hot water tank, particularly if the water temperature remains below 50°C after running for two minutes, our team is here to provide professional guidance and support.
- Warm Cold Water: If the cold water continues to run warm, surpassing 20°C after two minutes, we must seek our expert assistance to rectify the situation promptly.
Prioritising water hygiene within educational facilities and safeguarding children’s health is paramount to looking after the health and wellbeing of children. By raising awareness of the risks associated with Legionella bacteria and providing comprehensive solutions, we aim to empower facilities managers in their mission to create a safe and healthy environment for students. We strive to deliver the highest water hygiene standards through our commitment to ongoing monitoring, thorough risk assessments, flushing protocols, pipework removal, and alternative solutions. By following the steps outlined and promptly seeking assistance, facilities managers can play a pivotal role in maintaining optimal water quality and protecting the children in their care.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the team for a no obligation quote.