Legionella species of bacteria are found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. The bacteria can become a health concern when they grow, form biofilms and spread in human-made building water systems like
- Shower heads and sink taps
- Cooling towers (structures that contain water and a fan as part of centralised air cooling systems for buildings or industrial processes)
- Hot tubs
- Decorative fountains and water features
- Hot water tanks and heaters
- Large, complex plumbing systems
There are a few simple steps you can follow to help reduce the risk of bacteria and legionnaires disease in your home:
- If you have taps or showers you don’t use regularly, run them for 5-10 minutes at least once a month to clear the pipes.
- Try to clean the outside of taps and shower heads at least once every three months.
- Ensure there aren’t any places where water can stay still and build up bacteria.
Legionella bacteria can also be found in potting mixes, composts, mulches, soil conditioners and gardening soils. This includes bagged material and soils purchased in bulk form, such as a trailer load of mulch. They can be harmful to your health if you do not take basic precautions.
See here for a fact sheet on Legionnaires’ disease.
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