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Businesses reminded to check water systems as they prepare to reopen | Sandwell Council

Businesses reminded to check water systems as they prepare to reopen

Published 8th April 2021

Businesses planning to reopen in Sandwell during the coming weeks are being reminded to check on the maintenance of their premises, including the safety of water systems to prevent Legionella risks.

Sandwell Council’s environmental health team wrote to businesses in the spring of 2020 to warn of the potential for increased risk of bacterial growth in water systems while premises were closed and to provide them with advice and guidance.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. The disease is fatal in 10% of cases.

Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.

Legionella bacteria are naturally present in water systems.

Systems need to be regularly maintained and flushed to prevent bacterial growth that may cause illness. Warmer weather also increases the risk.

Nicola Plant, service manager for regulated services and transformation, said: "As more and more businesses prepare to reopen this summer, we are reminding them that they need to make sure their water system has been reviewed by a competent person and is safe for reopening."

All water systems need to be considered. This includes water systems at shops, hairdressers, offices, hotels, gyms, sports clubs, golf clubs, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, voluntary-run premises, and anywhere that has a water supply and is currently shut.

Businesses are required by law to control Legionella and may need to approach a specialist to disinfect water systems.

More information is also available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the HSE Legionnaires webpage
and at the GOV.UK website