We aim to meet the highest standard of water hygiene in all of our properties, including assessing and managing risk associated with legionella.
Legionella is bacteria most commonly found in soil and natural water courses (such as rivers), but it can also occur in man-made water systems including hot and cold water storage tanks and pipes.
If small droplets of water contaminated with the bacteria are inhaled, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia.
The two things that Legionella bacteria need to grow and reproduce are:
- a water temperature of 20-45C
- impurities in the water that the bacteria can use for food – such as rust, algae and limescale.
We use qualified consultants to carry out risk assessments of our water installations in all of our Independent Living Communities and buildings where there are shared facilities or communal areas.
When a property becomes empty, we check the water tank is clean, has a lid and is adequately supported before the next residents move in.
Over the next 10 years, we are gradually replacing water storage tank systems throughout our properties with combination boilers which are far better at regulating temperature that prevents legionella.
You can take a few simple steps to reduce the risk of legionella.
- store hot water at 60°C or higher and distribute at 50°C or higher;
- store and distribute cold water below 20°C;
- flush out, clean and disinfect showers and taps regularly;
- cover tanks to prevent the entry of dirt, debris and pests and make sure tanks are insulated;
- identify and prevent any areas where stagnant water occurs, e.g. pipes to a washing machine that is no longer used;
- check that thermostatic mixing valves aren’t set at a temperature that helps legionella growth (between 20°C and 45°C).
For more information about legionella, visit the HSE website.