How the ongoing global pandemic drives Legionella concerns

Even before COVID-19, Legionella had the distinction of being one of the leading water- borne disease agents in the USA, with reported cases growing more than 5-fold from 2000-2017 (CDC). But now, as COVID-19 and stagnant water due to building closures collide, the threat increases.

What is Legionella?

Legionella bacteria occur naturally in warm, freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. They become problematic to health when they grow in plumbing systems, particularly where biofilm has developed on pipe walls, and then spread as water is distributed throughout the building. To cause infection, Legionella must be aspirated making showerheads, water fountains, cooling towers, and, less commonly, taps and drinking fountains points of contamination. In high risk populations, Legionella infection can cause a serious type of pneumonia. The simplest way to prevent infections is to keep Legionella out of building water systems.

Ultraviolet (UV) disinfection is a proven solution for preventing Legionella contamination of building water systems, and is suitable for:

  • Hospitals and healthcare facilities
  • Schools
  • Office and commercial buildings
  • Homes

We're here to help. Ask us what kind of UV system is best for your needs.

UV can be applied at the point-of-entry as a complementary disinfection barrier for the whole building or at point-of-use for high risk areas within a plumbing system. Different species of Legionella require different UV dose levels for inactivation. However, in general, required doses are low and well within the operating parameters of our range of UV systems.

Legionella Species 3-log 4-log 5-log
Legionella Bozemanii 3.5 mJ/cm2 4.7 mJ/cm2 5.83 mJ/cm2
Legionella dumoffi 5.5 mJ/cm2 7.33 mJ/cm2 9.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella gormanii 4.9 mJ/cm2 6.55 mJ/cm2 8.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella micdadei 3.1 mJ/cm2 4.13 mJ/cm2 5.17 mJ/cm2
Legionella longbeachae
(found in potting soil)
2.9 mJ/cm2
Legionella pneumophila
(legionnaires disease)
3.8 mJ/cm2 5.1 mJ/cm2 6.33 mJ/cm2
Legionella interrogans
(infectious jaundice)
6.0 mJ/cm2

Controlling Legionella

Routine Legionella testing is not common in the operation and maintenance of many building water systems, with the exception of hospitals and healthcare facilities. But, given the extensive shutdowns and low-level use and occupancy of so many buildings, including schools and offices, testing is strongly encouraged. Where Legionella is detected, the corrective actions include disinfection (thermal or hyper-chlorination) and flushing, followed by repeat testing. UV disinfection can then be employed to avoid re-inoculation of the plumbing system.


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UV water treatment for “brain-eating” amoeba (N. fowleri)

The role of any public water treatment facility, be it city, town, or municipality, is to deliver water to your home that is fit for drinking. Point-of-entry water treatment in your home, like an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection system, provides an additional barrier to ensure the quality of water at every tap in the home and for every purpose.

Why every tap matters

Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba, or single-celled living organism which causes a serious brain infection called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) that, while very rare, is often fatal. Consuming water contaminated with N. fowleri is not an issue as it is destroyed by stomach acid. Instead, it enters the body through the nose where it then migrates to the brain via the olfactory nerve. Since the organism is normally found in warm waters, infections are most often associated with swimming/diving in recreational waters – but not always! Cases have been linked to contaminated tap water entering the nose during nasal rinsing such as with a neti pot. Accidental exposures to N. fowleri, especially involving children, are also possible where the head is immersed in contaminated water or contaminated water goes up the nose during:

  • Bathing or showering;
  • Swimming in “kiddie pools” filled with tap water;
  • Unsupervised play with outdoor hose bibs or sprinklers.

Where does N. fowleri occur?

Incidents of N. fowleri being detected in North American water distribution systems have only occurred in the warm climates of Louisiana (2013) and Texas (2020). However, cases of PAM have been reported in a wider geography including 15 southern states, as well as Minnesota, Kansas, and Indiana. No water distribution system is immune to pipe breaks or pressure fluctuations that could allow an environmental contaminant like N. fowleri access. If the water temperature is warm and disinfectant levels are low, it could colonize and put water users at risk.

How to treat for Naegleria fowleri

In implementing water treatment for N. fowleri the goal should be a 4-log reduction of the cysts. UV disinfection is a chemical-free approach that will not alter the taste or odour of the water. Trojan Technologies provides a range of UV systems to meet the needs of homes, businesses or public water systems. Learn more about our brands here.

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Webinar: Understanding UV Disinfection – Muncipal Applications & Products

Join us on Tuesday, August 25 at 7:00 a.m. EDT / 3:00 p.m. GST as we discuss the parameters required to design ultraviolet (UV) systems for municipal disinfection applications, monetary and non-monetary factors to consider when evaluating disinfection systems, and review the periodic maintenance required for proper operation.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Who Should Attend

  • Consulting Engineers
  • Regulators
  • Technical Advisors
  • Operators
  • Municipal Wastewater Industry Professionals

What You Will Learn

  • UV basics & benefits
  • Disinfection alternatives (pros & cons)
  • UV applications, installations and O & M
  • Design considerations

 

About the Speakers

Ji An

As Market Specialist, Ji uses her in-depth technical UV knowledge and commercial acumen to drive growth and develop markets for UV technology in the municipal, industrial and residential segments.

 

 

Wayne Lem

Wayne has been with Trojan Technologies since 2003, holding prior roles of Senior Process Engineer and Manager of Validation and Research. He is currently a Municipal Market Manager and leads various global market strategies, new product developments and reactor validations. His role also encompasses educating engineers, regulators and operators about the science behind UV technology and various other water treatment processes.

Water Quality Concerns When Reopening Your Business

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many business closed their facilities. As regions are now reopening, business owners should be thinking about something they may not have had to give a lot of thought to before: the water quality in their buildings.

If your business has experienced low, or no water flow conditions in your building due to a shutdown, you should be exercising caution in re-opening regarding your water.

According to the U.S. EPA, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water supplies at this time and treatment plants have continued to operate and meet the same water standards as always.

This includes the use of residual disinfectant levels in order to inhibit microbial growth in transit. However, even under normal circumstances, the residual disinfectant typically dissipates in a matter of days or weeks.

We're here to help. Ask us what kind of UV system is best for your needs.

Water Quality in Your Building May be Stagnant & Degraded

Since many businesses have closed their facilities for weeks or even months at a time, the quality of water in service lines to commercial buildings and within those buildings may have degraded and become stagnant.

This significantly increases the risk from opportunistic pathogens like Legionella, some Mycobacteria and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Growth of non-pathogenic organisms could also impact the taste or smell of a water supply.

This is of particular concern where water use produces aerosols, such as:

  • Showers in gyms, fitness facilities and recreational buildings
  • Showers in hotels, motels and B&Bs
  • Taps in hair salons, barber shops and restaurants
  • Even simple toilet flushing
VIQUA VH410 Home Stainless Steel Ultraviolet Water Disinfection System

VIQUA VH410 UV Water Disinfection System

4 Top Water Tips for Business Owners

1. Understand what actions were taken to bring the building back into service, e.g., flushing, chlorination, etc.

2. Engage a plumber and/or water treatment professional to service/clean the water treatment equipment within your control.

3. Communicate with employees and customers about actions taken.

4. Consider installing a point-of-entry ultraviolet (UV) treatment to minimize risk now and mitigate stagnant water problems in the future.

After the flushing and disinfecting of the plumbing, your business can now create its own “water ecosystem”.

Any subsequent reopenings resulting from COVID-19 or even a boil water advisory will be made simpler and more convenient with your UV system already installed.

Further Things to Keep in Mind for Your Reopening

It takes a concerted effort at every level to prepare businesses from a safe water perspective. Utilities, public health authorities, engineers, building owners, plumbers, water treatment professionals and business owners may all need to be involved.

Key Advantages of UV Disinfection

As mentioned above, installing UV water disinfection system will provide a disinfection barrier to minimize risk now and mitigate future stagnant water problems.

  • UV is a chemical-free, environmentally-friendly process, that adds nothing to the water and will not change taste or odor of the water.
  • Requires no transportation, storage or handling of toxic or corrosive chemicals.
  • Highly effective at inactivating a broad range of microorganisms – including chlorine-resistant pathogens like Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Tips for Building Owners

  • Contact your government environmental public health departments for advice about building water safety
  • Work with qualified professionals to bring all building services, including water and sewer, back online
  • Communicate information provided by the health department to your building occupants

Tips for Water Treatment Professionals

  • Try to engage building owners before water services are brought back online
  • Protect water treatment equipment from further contamination during service line and plumbing flushes
  • Perform proper flushing, cleaning, sanitizing and servicing of water treatment systems

Find Out More


Let us help you understand how to leverage UV to minimize stagnant water risks going forward.

Simply fill out the form below.


Further Resources and References

¹ Building Owner Resources

² Water Treatment Professional Resources

³ Business Owner Resources

Ballast Water Treatment Business Update

Trojan Technologies has been investing in and committed to the ballast water treatment market since 2008. Unfortunately, due to regulatory delays and increasingly challenging market dynamics, our initial assessment of the opportunity has not been realized.

Based on these factors, Trojan has made the extremely difficult decision to exit the ballast water treatment market and will begin winding down related activity over the next couple of months.

We are fully committed to our channel partners as they continue to service and support vessels with Trojan Marinex Ballast Water Treatment (BWT) system installations. We will also honor and fulfill all existing customer commitments by completing the design, manufacture, and supply of Trojan Marinex BWT systems currently on order.

COVID-19 & UV Disinfection

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people around the world are asking if UV light can potentially play a role in helping to combat the spread of this virus. These questions are mainly associated with UV light’s ability to disinfect surfaces, equipment, and devices.

The International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) – a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of ultraviolet technologies to help address public health and environmental concerns – has assembled a group of leading experts from around the world to develop guidance on the effective use of UV technology, as a disinfection measure, to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.

The IUVA believes that UV disinfection technologies can play a role in a multiple barrier approach to reducing the transmission of the virus causing COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, based on current disinfection data and empirical evidence. For more information, visit iuva.org/COVID-19.

How UV Light Disinfects Water

Trojan Technologies designs and manufactures systems that disinfect water with UV light in the UV-C spectrum – we do not design or manufacture systems or products that disinfect surfaces or air.

In water disinfection applications, UV light provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms through a physical process. When bacteria, viruses and protozoa are exposed to germicidal wavelengths of UV light, they are instantaneously rendered incapable of reproducing and infecting. The process adds nothing to the water but UV light, has no impact on chemical composition or dissolved oxygen content, and does not create disinfection by-products.

Microorganisms are inactivated by UV light as a result of damage to nucleic acids. The high energy associated with short wavelength UV energy, primarily at 254 nm, is absorbed by cellular RNA and DNA. This absorption of UV energy forms new bonds between adjacent nucleotides, creating double bonds or dimers. Dimerization of adjacent molecules, particularly thymine, is the most common photochemical damage. Formation of numerous thymine dimers in the DNA of bacteria and viruses prevents replication.

UV light has demonstrated efficacy against pathogenic organisms, including those responsible for cholera, polio, typhoid, hepatitis and other bacterial, viral and parasitic diseases.

To learn more about our UV systems, click here.

 

*Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We will update this post with relevant details as they become available.

COVID-19 & Water

As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, questions about the virus’s potential transmission and/or persistence in drinking water and wastewater are being asked.

The World Health Organization has issued guidance on water, sanitation and health care waste which is relevant for viruses (including coronaviruses). It can be found here.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration have also issued guidance. It can be found using the links below:

The National Association of Water Companies, the American Water Works Association and the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies have also issued a joint statement reassuring the public about the safety of tap water. You can read it here.

UV disinfection and advanced oxidation systems safeguard water against bacteria, protozoa, viruses and chemical contaminants. Every day, our UV systems treat billions of gallons of water and wastewater around the world in municipal, industrial, and residential applications.

 

*Information regarding COVID-19 is rapidly evolving. We will update this post with relevant details as they become available.

COVID-19 Business Operations Update

Trojan Technologies is closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic and its various impacts on our associates, customers, suppliers, and partners around the world.

We are committed to providing the highest level of service and support possible during these unprecedented times, and our continuity plan addresses our ability to continue business operations, at corporate offices around the world and remotely, to ensure that our customers can continue to communicate with us.

We’re here for you. Thank you for your continued business and partnership.

Important Contact Information For Customers

For Residential Customers

For Municipal and Industrial Customers

  • For technical support and service, please call 1-866-388-0488 (in North America) or +1 519-457-2318 (international), or email tac@trojanuv.com
  • To inquire about replacement parts for TrojanUV systems, click here
  • To inquire about replacement parts for Aquafine systems, click here

General Inquiries

  • Please call +1 519-457-3400 or 1-888-220-6118, or click here

 

Trojan Technologies to Receive 2020 Corporate Icon Award

The London Chamber of Commerce’s Corporate Icon Award is presented to a corporation that has demonstrated particular excellence or achievement in business, making either an immediate impact on or a substantial long-term contribution to the economic progress of the London community. Past winners include StarTech.com, 3M Canada, and Labatt Breweries.

“Each year, the London Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors chooses a corporation that has demonstrated particular excellence or achievement in business to receive the Corporate Icon Award,” said Chamber CEO, Gerry Macartney. “Trojan Technologies is more than deserving of this honor and we are looking forward to presenting this award to them at the Business Achievement Award gala on March 25, 2020.”

“We are extremely honored to be receiving this recognition and are humbled to be named alongside the past recipients of this award,” says Stephen Bell, President of Trojan Technologies. “We look forward to celebrating with the London business community next year.”

The 2020 Business Achievement Awards gala will take place on March 25, 2020 at RBC Place London.

UV Water Treatment Product Development & Commercialization

At WEFTEC 2019 in Chicago, Trojan Technologies President, Stephen Bell, took Water Online Editor, Kevin Westerling, on a tour of our booth. During the tour, Stephen discussed the importance of strategic research and development and also explained why the TrojanUVFlex™ is garnering significant interest from municipalities around the world.

The TrojanUVFlex is ideal for non-potable reuse and other applications with low water quality, as well as 4-log virus applications in drinking water. Built on the proven Solo Lamp Technology platform, it provides municipalities with the most energy-efficient delivery of high UV doses in an extremely compact footprint.