From The Desk of Erin Brockovich: 1. Legionella is the most well-known of a group of organisms known as opportunistic pathogens.

1. Legionella is the most well-known of a group of organisms known as opportunistic pathogens.

  1. Legionella is a common environmental microbe found in soil and water.

  2. Legionella can be found in treated drinking waters.

  3. Legionnaires’ disease is the #1 waterborne disease in the United States.

  4. Legionnaires’ disease results from water quality degradation in building water systems in the premise plumbing.

  5. Legionnaires’ disease is the result of a ‘perfect storm’…
    (a) Legionella enter in low numbers from tap water, intrusion from main breaks, cross connections, backflow, (b) Legionella bacteria colonize on pipe and other solid surfaces and grow in biofilms to high levels in utility distribution systems and in premise plumbing systems, (c) Legionella bacteria are released into the air in microscopic droplets, (d) Susceptible hosts breathe in the droplets, (e) Host immune response is unable to prevent infection; i.e. Pontiac fever (mild flu like illness, not fatal), Legionnaires’ disease (pneumonia, may lead to death)

  6. Legionnaires’ disease is preventable (WHO, US CDC)

  7. Proper disinfection is very effective at controlling fecal pathogens in drinking water.

  8. In order to comply with the USEPA Disinfection Byproduct Rule, many Community Drinking Water Systems that use surface water sources (Lakes, Rivers) started adding ammonia to drinking water instead of removing organic carbon (dirt). The ammonia sequesters the disinfection properties of chlorine forming chloramine. Chloramine is 200 times weaker than chlorine and the residual ammonia is food for bacteria.

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