The Biggest Dangers Of Legionella In Hotels
Hotels and others places that provide accommodation come in many different sizes, types, ages, and with a varying number of facilities. Yet despite all the differences that these places will have between them, some things remain the same, and one of these things is the fact that legionella bacteria can be present, and it can be dangerous.
What is it about hotels that make them so much of an at risk category in regards to legionella? Read on to find out.
Water temperature controls are seen as a good first defence against legionella. Hot water needs to be stored at 60°C, leaving outlets at at least 50°C. In most places this is something that can easily be controlled, but in a hotel, this is subject to change. It will depend on how many people are staying, when the water is being used, how large the storage vessels are, and more. So trying to keep the temperatures at a standard 50°C as they come out of the taps is something of a nightmare.
Hotels tend to be refurbished and added to over time. This means that pipework can be altered and capacity changed without anything else being updated to accommodate these changes. This might make it even harder to deal with temperature fluctuations, but it will also create dead legs around the place.
Dead legs are pieces of pipework that lead to nowhere (they were once in use but have been cut back and capped off). They don't sound so bad until you realise that within these dead legs there is going to be stagnant water, debris, even rust, and they are therefore the ideal breeding ground for legionella. Dead legs must be completely cut back as even the smallest amount of pipework left can be dangerous.
Even the most successful hotels can't claim to have maximum occupancy at all times, and at off peak periods and in down times (like we've been experiencing with COVID-19) there are likely to be at least some empty rooms around the place.
How is this a problem for legionella? When the rooms are empty, the water is not being run through the pipework and out of the outlets. This means that stagnant water can easily build up, and the longer this is left the worse it can be. Imagine a guest entering a room that has been left unoccupied for weeks and having a refreshing shower. they will be showering in legionella bacteria, and could get very ill from it.
When rooms are left empty for a long period of time, the water must still be flushed through the pipework on a regular basis, ideally once a week. This will flush out the bacteria and keep things much more pleasant for the guests once they come back.
What To Do
Although this isn't the complete list of issues that hotels can expect to come across in relation to legionella, these are the most pressing, and if you are the responsible person you will need to ensure that your guests are kept safe. The first thing to do is to carry out a risk assessment of the legionella issues within the hotel, and then follow up on any recommendations made.
Ideally, a professional company such as Assured Water should carry out this risk assessment to ensure complete impartiality and an expert eye for legionella issues. Contact us today to find out more and to book you assessment as soon as possible.