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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Legionella and Ageing Infrastructure: Addressing the Risks in Older Buildings

As buildings age, their water systems can become a breeding ground for legionella bacteria. This can be due to a variety of factors, including outdated plumbing systems, lack of maintenance, and inadequate water treatment. In this article, we'll explore the risks associated with legionella in ageing infrastructure and discuss strategies for addressing these risks.

Understanding the Risks

Older buildings, particularly those built before the 1980s, are more likely to have plumbing systems that promote the growth of legionella bacteria. These systems may include stagnant water, dead-end piping, and other design flaws that create ideal conditions for bacterial growth.

In addition, ageing infrastructure can make it more difficult to maintain proper water treatment and monitoring. For example, older buildings may have outdated water treatment equipment that is no longer effective at controlling bacterial growth. They may also have water storage tanks or cooling towers that are difficult to access for cleaning and maintenance.

Strategies for Addressing the Risks

There are several strategies that building owners and managers can use to address the risks associated with legionella in ageing infrastructure.

Conduct a Risk Assessment

The first step in addressing legionella risks in older buildings is to conduct a thorough risk assessment. This involves identifying potential sources of bacterial growth, evaluating the effectiveness of current water treatment and monitoring practices, and developing a plan for addressing any identified risks.

Upgrade Plumbing Systems

One of the most effective ways to reduce the risk of Legionella in older buildings is to upgrade plumbing systems. This may involve replacing outdated equipment, installing new piping to eliminate dead ends and stagnant water, and adding features like recirculating pumps to keep water moving.

Implement Water Treatment and Monitoring

Proper water treatment and monitoring are essential for controlling legionella in any building, but this is especially true for ageing infrastructure. Building owners and managers should work with water treatment professionals to ensure that their systems are being treated with effective biocides and that water quality is being monitored regularly.

Train Staff and Occupants

Finally, it's important to train building staff and occupants on legionella risks and prevention strategies. This may include educating them on the importance of proper water temperature and flow, as well as providing guidance on identifying and reporting any potential sources of bacterial growth.


Legionella risks in ageing infrastructure are a serious concern for building owners and managers. However, by conducting thorough risk assessments, upgrading plumbing systems, implementing proper water treatment and monitoring, and providing training to staff and occupants, it is possible to reduce these risks and ensure the safety of building occupants.

Contact Assured Water to find out more.

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