The threat of a contaminated water pipe can exist when the Legionella bacteria can develop itself within your piping
system. This happens when the Legionella bacteria finds a breeding ground within your water piping system. Still water or water with the “wrong” temperatures are only a few examples where Legionella outbreaks stem from. Other examples are ghost pipes (pipes that are not really used) or water taps and showers that are seldom used.
When endusers are worried about their level of Legionella, and they have a water test conducted, always bear in mind that a
water test is just a test of the water quality at that certain point in time; the quality of the water may differ on a daily basis. And although in this application note we mainly discuss new buildings, the issue of Legionella at older buildings is also alarming; in many buildings, flats, hospitals or public buildings, the water piping systems are dated. The Legionella bacteria live mainly in those piping systems with still water and in some cases result in a Legionella outbreak.
Legionella shows an optimum growth rate between 30°C – 40°C and flourish in stagnant water. In an enclosed water system, pipes that have not been flushed can produce a biofilm layer over time which is advantageous to Legionella. This biofilm can serve as a nutrient supply for the microorganism. It is therefore essential to maintain good water quality, in an environment like a cooling tower, in order to ultimately reduce the potential breeding grounds and nutrient supply for Legionella and other bacteria. Legionella can cause infections like Legionnaires disease and Pontiac fever if large numbers of the microorganism are either inhaled or aspired into the body.
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UV light is extremely effective at the inactivation of Legionella at low dose levels. Different species of Legionella do requiredifferent dose levels for inactivation, however all of these levels are relatively low and well within the operating parameter of the VIQUA UV systems.