When you think of waterborne diseases, unclean drinking water is the first thing that comes to mind. However, this is not the only culprit.
The cool water you brush and shower with every morning or the warm, relaxing water of your hot tub could be just as dangerous even though you do not drink this water.
Is Your Shower Safe?
The legionella bacterium can typically be found in freshwater sources like lakes and rivers but sometimes, it can enter our water systems. It grows and multiplies in warm water accumulated in showers, faucets, hot tubs, decorative fountains, heaters, hot water tanks and air condition cooling towers.
Breathing in small droplets of bacteria infested water can cause a fatal disease known as Legionnaires’ disease. This disease can affect anyone but the good news is that you can protect yourself against it.
There are no vaccines against Legionnaires disease. Instead, to prevent this disease you must ensure that your building’s water system does not promote the growth of legionella bacteria. This is normally the responsibility of the landlord in apartment buildings and home owners in the case of self-owned houses.
Testing is not a legal requirement but is advised by the Health & Safety Executive in high risk areas such as old age homes and water systems where temperatures fluctuate frequently.
Testing for the presence of legionella bacteria is not difficult. For apartment buildings and home, testing kits make this extremely easy. The kit includes a sterile bottle to be filled with water from a tap or shower and sent to the testing facility. Over 10-14 days, the water samples will be cultured and tested in a laboratory.
You will then receive detailed test results and a legionella test certificate. Depending on your location and the type of water system being used, testing should be repeated every quarter or every six months.
In addition, it is good idea to test your water if a neighboring property has tested positive for the bacteria or if you get a new water treatment system. If you think it’s time to get your water system tested, check Aquacert.co.uk See this Website for further details.
If your water system tests positive to the bacteria, the water is retested to verify the first test results and to identify the bacteria source. There are many ways to kill the bacteria depending on the type of water system. This includes the use of chlorine, bleach or other disinfectant chemicals, raising water temperature to above 65 degrees C and ultraviolet radiation.
These processes may need to be repeated a few times depending on the amount of bacteria in your water. Finally, you will have to retest the water to check that the bacteria have been successfully eliminated.