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A new toolkit by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a checklist to help identify if a water management program is needed, gives examples to help identify where Legionella could grow and spread in a building, and lists ways to reduce risk of contamination.
Legionnaires’ disease is on the rise, according to the CDC. In the last year, about 5,000 people were diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease and more than 20 outbreaks were reported to the CDC.
The toolkit, “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards,” was based on guidance from ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.
The toolkit was announced via the CDC’s Vital Signs, a monthly update from CDC that highlights topics of public health interest. The June Vital Signs report examined 27 building-associated Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks investigated by CDC across 24 states and territories, Mexico, and Canada. For each outbreak, CDC researchers recorded the location, source of exposure, and deficiencies in environmental control of Legionella.
The most common source of building-associated Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks was drinkable water (56 percent), such as water used for showering, followed by cooling towers (22 percent), and hot tubs (7 percent), says the report. Other sources included industrial equipment (4 percent) and a decorative fountain/water feature (4 percent). In two outbreaks, the source was never identified.
An earlier version of the toolkit was developed by the CDC, the state of Michigan, and Genesee County to encourage at-risk building owners in Flint, Mich., to design and implement Standard 188-compliant water management plans.
Standard 188 can be previewed at no cost at https://www.ashrae.org/Standard188. The toolkit is available at www.cdc.gov/Legionella.
This Quick Read was submitted by Naomi Millán, senior editor of Building Operating Management magazine, email@example.com. For more on ASHRAE's Legionella standard, visit here.