The Legionella bacteria has caused recent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease all over the globe. Close to home, Legionnaires’ disease is responsible for hospitalizing thousands of Americans every year. This Legionella bacteria can be found in any type of water system. Legionnaires’ disease can be acquired after inhaling mists from a water source that contains this bacteria.
These recent outbreaks have continued the increased concern and encouraged steps towards standardized requirements for the management of risks associated with Legionella. ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) is currently working toward the establishment of such standards. Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, aims to identify risk factors for growth and exposure of Legionella in industrial water systems. It further seeks measures and tactics to mitigate such risks. This standard will help facility managers and owners to better understand their buildings' water systems relative to the risks that Legionella poses.
The Standard 188P Committee has introduced a fourth public review draft and is confident that it will be approved and made available this summer. The chair of the committee, Tom Watson, stated, “The new version of the standard will provide the building community with reasonable and practical methods to control exposure to the bacterium that could cause harm.” Specific changes seen in the new draft include:
- Removal of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) terminology; some of the principles of the HACCP process may be included in the new draft
- Environmental Legionella testing considerations
- Revision of the standard to align with recently approved changes to the standard’s title, purpose and scope, chiefly around systematic management of risks associated with potential exposure to Legionella
It is noted that these provisions are subject to change between now and the publication of the final version. To be updated regarding further progress of Standard 188-2015, subscribe to the ASHRAE listserv here. Watertech will be following this topic closely in the coming months and will keep our website updated.
Recently Watertech teamed with the Milwaukee Health Department for our region’s first ever symposium dealing with Legionnaire’s Disease. Click here to see pertinent articles and pictures from the event.