Reopening businesses reminded to check water systems

Businesses planning to reopen in the City of Wolverhampton from April 12 are being reminded to check the maintenance of their premises, including the safety of water systems to prevent Legionella risks.

High-risk businesses have been warned of the potential for increased risk of bacterial growth in water systems while premises were closed, and given advice and guidance.

The council’s ‘Trade with Confidence’ website provides support to local businesses and has been updated with useful links and information relating to the prevention of Legionella in water systems.

For further information, businesses should visit www.tradewithconfidence.org.uk/covid19-guidance.html and view the information in the Legionella and Legionnaires’ Disease section.

Legionnaires’ disease can be contracted by breathing in small droplets of water suspended in the air which contain Legionella bacteria. The disease is fatal in 10% of cases.

Symptoms include fever, a non-productive cough and pneumonia.

Legionella bacteria are naturally present in water systems.

Systems need to be regularly maintained and flushed to prevent bacterial growth that may cause illness. Warmer weather also increases the risk.

City of Wolverhampton Council Director for City Environment, Ross Cook, said:

As more and more businesses prepare to reopen, we are reminding them they need to make sure their water system has been reviewed by a competent person and is safe for reopening.

This is just one element of the support the council’s Environmental Health team is providing to businesses across the city as they find a new way of working – and also to protect our residents and customers.

All water systems need to be considered. This includes water systems at shops, hairdressers, offices, hotels, gyms, sports clubs, golf clubs, hotels, pubs, clubs, restaurants, voluntary-run premises and anywhere that has a water supply and is currently shut.

City of Wolverhampton Council's environmental health team has written to high-risk businesses warning of the risk.

Businesses are required by law to control Legionella and may need to approach a specialist to disinfect water systems.

More information is also available from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) at www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires.