Bureau Veritas advises hot tub owners to be vigilant as cases of Legionella increase in warmer months

07/08/18




According to Public Health England (PHE), cases of Legionella spike during the summer and autumn, with the highest number in both 2016 and 2017 reported in August and September. On this basis, testing and inspection specialist Bureau Veritas is advising hot tub owners to be aware of the importance of regular maintenance, particularly during warmer conditions.

Paul Weston, Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, comments: “Hot tubs are becoming more accessible and over the last decade we’ve seen them soar in popularity. When maintained correctly, they pose minimal risk to the public but it’s important to remember that the conditions provide an optimal breeding ground for potentially harmful bacteria, including Legionella. The combination of warm temperatures (the ideal temperature range for bacteria growth is 20-45C, with the average hot tub being around 36C), with contaminants such as dead skin and dirt acting as a food source means it’s an ideal environment for bacteria growth. Coupled with this, the large surface area of pipework provides a place for bacteria to grow and the vigorous agitation of the water means that water droplets are formed, from which any potential legionella bacteria could be inhaled.

“It’s therefore essential for those considering installing a hot tub, whether in a retail or domestic environment, to use an accredited supplier and installer and plan an ongoing maintenance strategy. Regular maintenance is critical in ensuring good water hygiene and managing the risk against potential hazards, including Legionella.

“Manufacturers, suppliers and installers have a responsibility to ensure that hot tub owners are aware of the potential risks and responsibilities, as neglect can lead to serious consequences. Only last year, a discount warehouse retailer in Stoke-on-Trent was fined £1million after an outbreak of legionella caused by a poorly-maintained hot tub on display struck down 12 customers, resulting in the deaths of two men.

“Owners should always refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines but general maintenance tips include regular assessment of the water’s alkalinity, pH and sanitiser levels, along with cleaning the cover and removing any visual contaminants, plus rinsing the filter (including a regular chemical rinse). Professional assessment and maintenance is also advised.”

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), in conjunction with PHE and local authority and industry representatives, published new guidance in 2017 on how to manage and control the risks from Legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems (which covers hot spas, hot tubs, whirlpool spas and portable spas). Titled HSG282: The control of Legionella and other infectious agents in spa-pool systems, the guidance was designed to help those who manage and operate spa-pool systems assess and control the risk of Legionella, which can cause the potentially life-threatening Legionnaire’s disease.
Bureau Veritas offers a range of indoor water quality services including water inspections, legionella management training and risk assessments. For further information, call 0345 600 1828 or visit www.bureauveritas.co.uk

A list of British and Irish Spa and Hot Tub Association (BISHTA) accredited manufacturers, suppliers and installers can be found at www.bishta.co.uk

For more information, email info@uk.bureauveritas.com or call 0345 600 1828.

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