Legionella is a type of bacteria that lives and breeds in water. Water infected with the bacteria can be inhaled via airborne water droplets or spray, causing Legionnaire's disease - a lung infection similar to pneumonia, which in some instances can be fatal.
Lesser amounts of Legionella bacteria can be found in any natural or man-made water source. However, the bacteria is more likely to multiply and increase the risk of infection if:
- Water is stored/not flowing and becomes stagnant
- The temperature of the water is between 200C and 450C
- Water, or the equipment that holds or carries it, becomes dirty
There are certain groups of people that are more at risk of contracting Legionnaire's disease:
- Over 50s
- Those with existing respiratory diseases, e.g., asthma
- Those with weakened immune systems
Stockport Homes has a legal duty and responsibility to ensure that hot and cold-water systems within its properties and buildings are maintained to control the risk of Legionella bacteria.
- A Legionella risk assessment and ongoing monthly Legionella monitoring is carried out in all buildings where there is a communal water supply, e.g., district heating/hot water.
- All Legionella risk assessments and monitoring are carried out by a specialist water hygiene contractor.
- Staff are trained to be aware and understand the factors that can increase the risk of Legionella.
- A Legionella risk assessment has been carried out in all Independent Living properties due to the susceptibility of the residents
- A Legionella risk assessment is carried out in every property that becomes vacant before the next person moves in, in addition shower heads and hoses are replaced and all water flushed through the system.
- Ensure you thoroughly clean your shower head and hose and the inside of your taps at least every 3 months to prevent a build-up of dirt which may encourage Legionella bacteria to multiply.
- If you have an outside tap, ensure that it is turned on and run for 2 minutes once a week to prevent water stagnation.
- If you are away from home for a week or more ensure upon your return that all taps and showers are turned on and ran for 2 minutes before use.
- Do not connect a hose pipe or a jet wash to a water butt.
- Inform Stockport Homes immediately on 0161 217 6016 if you suspect your hot or cold water is hotter or colder than it should be.
If you would like more information about Legionella and how to keep safe contact the Customer Safety Team on 0161 218 1944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org