How to prevent Legionella outbreaks in your building water systems

You might have heard about Legionnaires’ disease, a serious form of pneumonia which can lead to death due to biofilm in water. Public health impacts associated with Legionella in internal drinking water systems of buildings has been a long standing concern, and until today there are no vaccines that can prevent this disease.


Key to preventing Legionnaires’ disease is to reduce the risk of Legionella growth and spread. Physical variables in the water system of a building like temperature and flow velocity can lead to hazardous conditions which promote Legionella growth. Furthermore Legionella can also be “sourced” come as water intake from municipality.

The three most effective ways to fight Legionella are

  • microfiltration (typically used in R.O in hospitals, etc.)
  • temperature treatment (overheating hot water, which is not effective in cold water and process water)
  • the use of biocide (disinfectants). However, biocides can dissipate quickly, creating an opportunity for growth of biofilm bacteria and potential pathogens such as legionella. On the other hands, too much biocide can damage the piping infrastructure. Therefore a reliable measurement system is necessary.
How we can help you to prevent Legionella outbreaks:

s::can offers several real-time water quality monitoring solutions that can help building owners and facility managers to create conditions that prevent Legionella growth. By monitoring the water quality online favorable conditions for Legionella growth can be detected in real-time and immediate counter measures can be taken by facility managers to prevent harmful effects on humans.

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How are we doing that?

Strategically placed s::can systems monitor the water quality online at crucial points within the buildings water system. A typical solution is based on:

  • Monitoring the biocides and organics at the inlet point (TOC, DOC, SUVA, Conductivity, Free Chlorine), in combination with an Event Detection System (Pattern alarm) in order to detect when an unusual event occurs from outside
  • Flow dependent biocide injection: inlet and specifics critical point
  • System optimization by using one main terminal with multiple measuring points

Example of a building with multiple monitoring stations:

What else can you do?

Understanding your flow within your building is another crucial factor that will allow you to mitigate water stagnation and gain a better understanding of water usage throughout your facility.  Badger Meter, owner company of s::can, offers flow-monitoring solutions for Influent and Effluent Monitoring, Energy and Sub-metering, Irrigation Monitoring, Steam Monitoring and Sustainability Monitoring within your facilities. In combination with a water quality monitoring system from s::can you have two effective tools to put a stop  a Legionella growth.

Learn more about Badger Meters Flow Monitoring Solutions for Legionella prevention here.

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