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Legionella water testing

.Are you aware of the importance of Legionella water testing services?

As a daily routine, we head over to our kitchen faucet to turn on the tap water to drink, cook and wash dishes. In addition, we use the tap water in our bathroom sink to brush our teeth morning and night and to take showers.

Our tap water is generally filtered and disinfected, enforced by the town, city, or state to meet the safety standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, tap water tastes good and is safe to drink, right? No, not always, as water temperatures and plumbing pipes do play a significant role.

How do you know whether your water is safe to drink? Some signs showing it is unhealthy include cloudy and murky water, sediment or particles in the sink, foul odor, and green algae.

In addition, to knowing all of this, are you aware that our tap water has many good bacteria that are harmless and healthy for us?

Unfortunately, along with the good, there can be harmful bacteria lurking that you may not be aware of, including Legionella.

Legionella water testing

What is Legionella?

Legionella is found naturally in freshwater rivers, lakes and streams which is not a problem in the wild. However, it becomes a huge concern when Legionella bacteria grows and spreads to manufactured plumbing water systems such as water faucets, showerheads, hot tubs, water heaters and cooling towers.

Legionella bacteria can find their way into processed public water systems when a water disinfection system fails, the water stops flowing, the disinfection levels are inaccurate, or the plumbing becomes stagnant where the plumbing has a “dead leg.” Legionella bacteria can grow in water temperatures between 68-113°Fahrenheit (°F). Hence, dead legs containing stagnant water can amplify the legionella bacteria. When legionella bacteria grow in dead legs of a water pipe, they can propagate into the building’s water system.

There is an increased risk of Legionella exposure as it multiplies while thriving where water temperatures are between 68 and 113°F. It only takes a breath of tiny water droplets for a person to be exposed and contract Legionnaires disease. This disease is a severe form of pneumonia where the lungs become inflamed. Unfortunately, Legionnaires disease does not resolve independently and, if left untreated, can be fatal.

Legionella Water Testing

There are a few ways to test for Legionella. Each method of detection and sampling has different degrees of effectiveness. The primary Legionella water testing and detection methods are the Culture Method, the PCR Method, and the DFA Method.

Culture Method

The Culture Method involves the bacterial filtrate from the water source confined on an agar petri dish to identify the species and serogroups using biochemicals. The results will be either qualitatively reported as ‘Detected with Legionella’ or ‘Not Detected’ or quantitatively reported as concentrations of the various species and serogroups. The drawback of the culture method is that it takes ten days to complete, a time when more occupants could become exposed to the Legionella bacteria.

PCR Method

The PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Method is excellent for screening drinking water samples and only takes a couple of hours to complete. However, this method is not best when sampling water in our environment exposed to dirt and debris, as these conditions can inhibit the laboratory’s method to detect the presence of Legionella.

DFA Method

The third Legionella water testing method is the DFA (direct fluorescent antibody) method, created by the CDC in 1978, which is considered the best for testing Legionella in drinking and environmental water samples.

Legionella Prevention

Several steps and methods can be implemented to minimize and prevent Legionella bacteria from entering your water supply.

  • Develop a water management program.
  • Ensure the water heater works optimally and the temperature is set correctly to prevent Legionella from surviving and multiplying.
  • Remove piping “dead legs” and maintain water movement throughout the plumbing system.
  • Regularly clean and maintain cooling towers.
  • Incorporate routine environmental testing for Legionella to catch any signs before it spreads.

Legionella Water Testing Services

PHASE Associates, LLC provides reliable, efficient, and accurate Legionella water testing services to New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

For Legionella water testing, we utilize sampling techniques with comprehensive laboratory testing to analyze water environments for Legionella pneumophilia, non-pneumophilia and Legionella species in the system. We have extensive experience performing environmental risk assessments, sampling, and testing for Legionella in facilities of all types and sizes.

Contact us today.