Managing Legionella in Water Systems with ASHRAE Standard 188-2015
Managing legionella in water systems and the risks posed by Legionnaires’ disease is a vital consideration when conducting water safety risk assessments in any environment. Fortunately, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) provides ample information and supportive advice concerning this type of risk management. But we can also learn something from the USA’s ASHRAE 188-2015 – a voluntary standard that aims to help prevent the growth and spread of the legionella bacteria by setting minimum legionellosis risk management requirements for building water systems.
Best practice for managing legionella in water systems
While managing an existing water system brings its own unique challenges, understanding the risks involved from legionella and Legionnaires’ disease is arguably just as important regarding new water systems. If a new water system can be built with good legionella management and prevention practices firmly in place, it should be easier to manage and control any bacteria that are present in the water system over time.
More about ASHRAE Standard 188-2015
ASHRAE’s Standard 188-2015 “Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems” has been written for people involved in the design, construction and installation, commissioning and on-going operation of building water systems. The standard covers five essential areas that include:
- Buildings where a proper risk management programme for water use is required (it also covers water devices, such as hot tubs, for example)
- The devices that need a water management programme (i.e. hot tubs, cooling towers and similar items)
- The minimum requirements of such a legionella control programme
- The people who should comprise a team that takes ownership of this programme
- How to manage that water management programme, in terms of assessing its validity and looking at potential updates
As such, while ASHRAE 188-2015 is created in America, it is a standard rather than an official ruling, and can therefore be of great use to all those exploring ways to develop and maintain a programme for managing legionella in water systems and other devices.
How can ASHRAE 188 help you?
Across the USA, if you are responsible for creating a water system (hot and cold, cooling or other type of system), you can use the guidance to help you design that system with an eye to the management and control of legionella bacteria and its potential to spread and grow in that system. The ASHRAE Standard 188 could make it far harder for the bacteria to spread, minimise the risks from Legionnaires’ and make it much easier for those managing the safety of that water system to do so in the best possible way.
The standard was designed for businesses and organisations in all types of buildings, so it can be applied across the board. There are some areas it does not go into, such as legionella testing and the temperature of the water in the system. However, ample information is available on this from other sources, including the UK’s Health & Safety Executive (HSE), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to name but two.
If you are involved in the design, installation or management of building water systems and the control of legionella we would encourage you to read ASHRAE 188 for yourself if you have not yet done so.
Further information, advice and support
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