We have a Legionella Policy in place to help us manage the risks of legionella.
What is legionella
Legionella is an air borne bacteria found naturally in fresh water. When people inhale the bacterium through vapour / aerosol , it can cause illness (Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever). This bacterium grows best in warm water (between 20 and 45 degrees C).
Water tanks and systems
We undertake regular recorded checks on water tanks and systems in all our communal and sheltered buildings to make sure that hot and cold systems and pipework are in good condition and to help us remain safe.
We actively programme the replacement of water tanks in our communal buildings for more modern and safer sealed systems.
Also, when a customer moves out of one of our properties we make sure that the hot and cold water system and pipework is checked to ensure the control of any legionella risk.
We have started an ongoing capital investment programme to remove ALL stored water systems in our gas properties, and are replacing these (when identified on a day-to-day basis) with gas combi heating and hot water systems.
Reduce the risks of legionella
To reduce the risks of legionella you can:
- Clean and disinfect taps and showers - legionella bacteria can multiply on scale, dirt or rust, so clean and disinfect taps and showers every three months or sooner if there is an obvious build-up of debris on the outlet.
- Setting the right temperature - legionella bacteria are more likely to grow between 20°C and 45°C, so where possible set hot water thermostats to 60°C. Using cold taps regularly can help temperatures stay below 20°C.
- Use water taps once a week - all the water taps require use on at least a weekly basis this helps to make sure you don’t have water standing still in pipes. If you’ve been away for more than a week, run all your taps for a few minutes before using the water. You should regularly flush through the water before using baths, wash hand basins, sinks and in particular, if you have an outside tap which may not be operated for months at a time. Make sure you cover the outlets before flushing, with a bag or similar so that any spluttering or spurting water cannot reach you.
- Water butts - if you have a water butt items that create spray it should not be connected to the water butt, e.g. hose pipes and car washers. It is however fine to fill a watering can from the water butt. The nag over tap would need to have small holes pierced into it to allow the water to run out slowly.
- If a shower is seldom used, flush through once week by turning the shower on to a hot setting and letting it run for 5 minutes (once a week).
- If water tanks have thermostats fitted to them ensure they are set at 60c.