The Legionella bacteria are responsible for the diseases collectively known as Legionellosis which includes Lochgoilhead fever, Pontiac fever, and the serious Legionnaires’ disease. These bacteria are usually found in natural water sources like lakes, rivers, etc. According to the Legionella news, the people who are usually affected by these bacteria usually belong to one of the following categories:
- People who are more than 45 years old.
- The regular drinkers and chain smokers.
- People who already have kidney problems or chronic respiratory disease.
- People who are suffering from heart disease, lung problems, or diabetes.
- Any person who has an impaired immune system.
According to the Legionella news, The Risk Management Plan (RMP) has been designed to fight against the diseases caused by the Legionella bacteria, especially the serious Legionnaires ’ disease by taking care of the risks involved in the cooling water systems. RMP also documents the best practices to decrease the rate of transmission and growth of the Legionella bacteria.
According to the new NSW regulations, only an expert who is approved by the NSW health can be allowed to take the responsibility of a risk assessor and to execute the RMP. This person must have the following traits:
- He/she must have in-hand experience about the matter.
- He/she must have gone through proper training.
- He/she should have final sign off on the RMP.
- He/she should have sufficient skills to measure and prevent risks successfully.
For the RMP assessment, the risk assessor needs to take up the following activities:
- Regular communication with the people dealing with the installation, maintenance and operational activities of the cooling water systems.
- Regular site visits to check the functionalities of the cooling water systems
- Keeping an eye on various documents such as monthly reports related to the chemical analysis of the water sample, the maintenance, and operational issues, etc.
After measuring the growth rate of the Legionella bacteria and calculating the residual risks for each factor involved with the cooling water systems, the risk levels are divided into three categories, which are:
- Low-risk level for which RMP frequency is 1 to 5 years. The growth and transmission rate of the Legionella bacteria is very low at this level.
- Medium-risk level for which RMP frequency is 1 to 5 years. The growth and transmission rate of the Legionella bacteria is medium at this level, and the growth and transmission rate needs to be reduced.
- High-risk level for which the required RMP level is every year. The growth and transmission rate of the Legionella bacteria is high at this level, and the growth and transmission rate immediately needs to be reduced.
These three risk levels are evaluated by an expert and then the natural water sources are marked with one of these levels. The water sources are categorized into the following types:
- Stagnant water
- Poor quality of water
- The ease of access to the cooling towers
- Nutrient availability
- Deficiency in the cooling water system.
Based on the risk levels for each of these categories, an action plan is developed to control the growth rate of the Legionella bacteria.