How can hotels protect against legionella?

5th September 2018
Water treatment for the hospitality and leisure sector

This summer has resulted in the usual spike in cases of Legionnaires’ Disease, the potentially deadly condition caused by bacteria growth in water that has been left to stagnate.

In a recent case, The Ramada Park Hall Hotel and Spa in Wolverhampton was closed down by the City of Wolverhampton Council after legionella bacteria was discovered in its water samples.  Cases like this can be hugely damaging to a hotel business, effecting both reputation and bottom line.

Why is water hygiene particularly important in hotel and leisure facilities?

These types of facilities use lots of water: for general drinking, heating and hot water, plus many also include spas, swimming pools and Jacuzzis – all potential bacteria strongholds.  Additionally, water usage in hotels is not always constant, fluctuating from season to season and potentially leading to stagnation during periods of low usage.

If water systems are not built and maintained correctly, the efficiency of the systems themselves can suffer, posing an increased risk to human health.

What can be done to ensure legionella protection?

A complete approach, from construction through to ongoing maintenance, will improve the efficiency of your water system, as well as safeguarding staff, guests and reputation.  Here are our tips for healthy hotel water systems:

Don’t ‘fit and forget’ – To ensure leisure facilities prevent legionella from the outset, care must be taken at the specification and construction stage.  Value water treatment solutions, such as magnetic water conditioners, for example, are often favoured at this stage due to their low energy and low maintenance credentials. Unfortunately, however, in practice we see varied results.  Problems usually present themselves several months or years after commissioning, due to the fact that lime-scale formation is not controlled throughout the entire water system as effectively as with traditional salt-based water softeners.

Make ongoing maintenance a priority – Low flow fitting for taps and showers can be crucial in leisure environments that use high volumes of water; they can, however, exacerbate risk by allowing water to stagnate, creating perfect conditions for legionella growth.  To counter this, ongoing water system maintenance is crucial, with regular cleaning and testing for the presence of harmful bacteria.  Legionella testing and risk assessment is essential to comply with legislation and to keep building occupants healthy and safe.

Take a bespoke approach – Increasing the dosage of chemicals does not always result in increased legionella protection.  Sometimes adjusting filtration or backwash settings can result in a more efficient system, rather than just throwing in chemicals, regardless of the necessity.  Where chemicals are used, by tailoring dosing to a specific system and its usage, excess dosing can be avoided – a thorough approach to water hygiene doesn’t mean throwing in the sustainability towel.

Reduce chemicals and chlorine – As well as treating legionella and other pathogens, non-chemical water treatment alternatives, such as AOT, have a knock-on-effect of reducing the need for chlorine; in some cases by as much as two-thirds.  Swimming pools and other leisure facilities will smell less chemically and organic odours prevented.

Get trained up – We see many examples of supplementary treatment devices that end up failing or being turned off all together due to a lack of understanding in terms of their required Planned Preventative Maintenance (PPM) regimes or their importance – training is key, for all members of the facilities management team.

Get in touch

Whether you have plans to expand your leisure business, or protect an existing site, Legionella prevention and water treatment should never be an afterthought. 

Guardian Water Treatment has an expert team, on-hand to help facilities and general building managers comply with legislation, protect guests and maintain water quality, while saving the costs and damaged reputations that poor water hygiene can bring.

Contact out team of experts today.

For more information about our water treatment services for the hotel and leisure sector, click here.