Regular testing and monitoring of water systems is one of the key components of the responsibilities of duty holders in managing the risks of Legionella bacteria. But how often should you buy a Legionella test kit?
There is no set frequency as to when and how often testing should be carried out by responsible persons. How often tests should be conducted will depend on a few crucial factors, including the type of water system, the monitoring and control measures currently enforced, the type of assets on the property, and their associated risks.
Legionella risk assessment is now a legal requirement. Once this assessment is in place a “Written Scheme of Control” must be written which sets out how each water system will be run, monitored and tested. In short the risk assessment determines what the risk is and the scheme of control is the bespoke road map of the risk is minimised and managed. The systems, locations and frequency of testing should be set out in detail as part of the control scheme plus the actions that should be implemented if the results show legionella bacteria are present. Some systems such as cooling towers, 3 monthly testing is required. It’s the same for Hot Tubs and Spa Pools. Taps and Showers are generally every 6 months, usually on rotation for larger properties such as hospitals.
Legionella risk assessment reviews needs to be conducted whenever the risk may have changed. Such situations include: changes to the water system; changes in the use of the water system; the population on the property moves toward a high risk category; a Legionella outbreak; recording of positive samples; when current management measures are no longer effective, and when new updates and recommendations are released. The scheme of control should dictate whether following a positive result, the system should be tested more frequently (eg monthly) for period of time (such 3/6 months) and only revert to the previous testing pattern if no bacteria have been isolated during this period.
Of course, other situations can change what your company deem an acceptable risk. For instance a Care Home CQC inspector may recommend you increase the testing frequency of your showers!
At AquaCert we pride ourselves in providing the highest quality legionella and water testing kits.
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Author: +Duncan Hollis