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  • Lisamarie Lamb

Understanding The Health Risks Of Legionella In Water Features

Updated: May 6

Water features add beauty and tranquility to any environment, whether it's a public park, a hotel courtyard, or a private garden. However, amidst the serenity they offer, lurks a potential health hazard - legionella bacteria. Legionella can thrive in water features, posing serious health risks to those exposed. Understanding these risks and implementing preventive measures is crucial for maintaining public health and safety.

What is Legionella?

Legionella is a type of bacteria commonly found in natural and artificial water sources, including lakes, rivers, and man-made water systems like cooling towers and fountains. When aerosolized water containing legionella is inhaled, it can cause legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia, or Pontiac fever, a milder flu-like illness.

The risk of legionella in fountains is high

Health Risks Associated with Water Features

Water features create ideal conditions for legionella growth, providing warm temperatures and stagnant water. When these conditions are coupled with organic matter and sediment buildup, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. People exposed to contaminated water features, especially those with compromised immune systems or respiratory issues, are at heightened risk of legionella infection.

Preventing Legionella Contamination

  1. Regular Maintenance: Ensure water features are properly maintained and cleaned regularly to prevent the buildup of organic matter and sediment, which can harbor legionella bacteria.

  2. Water Treatment: Implement appropriate water treatment measures such as chlorination or other disinfection methods to control bacterial growth.

  3. Temperature Control: Maintain water temperatures outside the ideal range for Legionella growth (20-45°C). Regularly monitor and adjust temperatures as needed.

  4. Aerosol Minimisation: Minimise aerosolization of water by adjusting fountain nozzles or reducing water flow to prevent the spread of contaminated droplets.

  5. Routine Testing: Conduct routine testing for legionella bacteria in water features, especially in high-risk environments like healthcare facilities or public parks.


While water features enhance the aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces, they also present a potential health risk if not properly maintained. Legionella contamination can lead to serious illnesses, making preventive measures imperative. By understanding the risks and implementing appropriate maintenance and treatment protocols, we can enjoy the beauty of water features while safeguarding public health. Contact us today to find out more.

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