Legionella—a waterborne bacterium found in rivers, lakes, reservoirs and untreated artificial water sources—as well as mold can flourish in plumbing and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that aren’t properly maintained. The COVID-19 pandemic may have created optimum conditions for Legionella and mold to thrive in commercial buildings that experienced extended shutdowns or reduced operations.
As employees return to the workplace, it’s imperative that buildings are clear of Legionella and mold. After all, these substances can pose serious health concerns for those exposed. Some health risks include:
- Legionnaires’ disease
- Immune system failure
Before occupants return to commercial buildings, the following measures should be taken:
- Flush water systems. Stagnant water systems can be a breeding ground for Legionella. Hot- and cold-water systems should all be flushed, including sinks, showers and toilets.
- Clean cooling towers. Removing slime, debris and biofilm can help reduce the buildup of Legionella.
- Treat water-using equipment. Water fountains, icemakers, pools, spas, sprinkler systems, eyewash stations and other water-using equipment should all be flushed and treated before reopening.
- Maintain indoor humidity. Mold flourishes in humid conditions. To reduce mold growth, relative humidity should always be lower than 60%.
- Assess the building before occupants return. A building and environmental health professional should inspect equipment and surfaces for mold that may have developed during shutdowns or reduced operations.
Keeping occupants safe as they return to commercial buildings should be a priority for all organizations. For more information, contact us today.