Legionella Prevention

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Courtesy of Danish Clean Water A/S - Danfoss A/S

Legionella Pneumophila

Legionella has been identified as a major problem in multioccupancy buildings such as hotels, hospitals, hostels, schools, military establishments, nursing homes and office blocks.

Worldwide thousands of people become seriously ill or die through infection by this potentially deadly disease. The costs if a buildings water system becomes infected can be substantial not only in terms of human suffering but also financially.

If a hotel is identified as a source of infection it can result in forced closure whilst the problem is treated plus possible lawsuits if people are infected. This means substantial loss of revenues and reputation. In addition in many countries if it is shown that the problem occurred due to the negligence of the hotel operators and staff it can result in large financial penalties or even prison sentences for the individuals concerned.

Every year hotels throughout the world are forced to close due to this problem often in the height of the tourist season. Every year people die in hospitals not from the disease that they were being treated for but from infection by this deadly bacteria that they contracted from the hospitals water system.

Due to the soaring price of energy many operators of these buildings reduce the overall temperature of the hot water system which can increase the risk of infection by the legionella bacterium.

Danish Clean Water disinfectant generators can be installed in all these buildings to treat the water system on a continual basis not only to remove the infection but to minimize the risk of reinfection. A Danish Clean Water disinfectant generator gives the building operator peace of mind that he is doing everything possible to protect the users of the building from infection and consequently minimizes the risk to themselves financially and legally.

All about Legionella

Legionella pneumophila was first identified in the mid seventies as an infectious disease after an outbreak at a legionnaires conference in the United States. Over 200 people were infected and 34 died. Infection is by inhalation of aerosols of infected water from sources such as showers, cooling towers and water features.

The susceptible groups are the elderly or those with an underlying medical condition that may be affecting their immune system. Fatality rates are largely dependant on the speed with which the disease is identified and antibiotics administered but are typically between 5-30%. The bacterium can also cause a milder infection known as Pontiac Fever which normally a healthy person will recover from without treatment within a few days.

The bacteria can survive temperatures up to 50 deg C but is generally killed at temperatures over 60 deg C. Temperatures of between 30 and 45 deg C provide the optimum growth conditions for the bacterium. The bacterium can infect protozoa which live in biofilms that accumulate on the surfaces of pipework systems.

Pipework that has biofilms on the surface are ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria. Removal of biofilms and maintaining a high ORP has been shown to be an effective strategy for minimizing the risk of potential legionella infection.

Danish Clean Water generators produce a disinfectant that will remove biofilms, kill legionella bacterium and maintain a high ORP within the system.

The Technology The Solution

DCW disinfectant generators are produced in a range of capacities to suit most applications. They have been designed to meet the specific requirements of a wide range of applications.

The T10 generator was specifically developed for use in multi-occupancy buildings where the water consumption is up to 300 cubic meters per day. This would normally be sufficient for most hotels, hospitals, offices and nursing homes. For larger volumes the T25 range would be capable of treating up to 5,000 cubic meters per day.

The added benefit of using DCW technology is that as well as removing the biofilm and killing the legionella bacteria it will also kill most other water borne pathogens.

DCW disinfectant generators can be easily installed in most plant rooms with a few simple connections and can be commissioned within a few hours. DCW normally carry units in stock for emergency situations where legionella or other waterborne pathogens have been identified and urgent remediation is necessary. Working with our partners in many countries we can offer a speedy response to solve the immediate problem and reduce the risk of re-infection.

DCW disinfectant generators use only common salt and a little electric power and typically have a water treatment cost of less than one cent per cubic meter. The generators require a minimum of human intervention and it is only necessary to keep the salt tank filled, typically a 1-3 times per month task.

As well as for potable water treatment the technology can be applied to cooling towers and evaporators to prevent legionella and other aerosol borne  pathogens being discharged.

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