Category Archives: Water

Information – HSE Legionella ebulletin

HSE Legionella A

HSE Prosecution

On 20 April 2018, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust was fined by Bristol Crown Court for failing to control the risk to patients from exposure to legionella bacteria in its water systems.  After the death of one of its patients from Legionnaires’ disease, HSE started an investigation and found that existing control measures were ineffective.  The Trust pleaded guilty to breaching Section 3 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and has been fined £300,000 and ordered to pay costs of £37,451.78.  Full details of the case may be found at :

Cooling Tower Regulatory Intervention Programme

HM Principal Specialist Inspector of Health & Safety, Mr Duncan Smith will be giving an update on the findings of HSE’s latest cooling tower intervention programme to the Water Management Society Conference on 19 June 2018.  Details of the conference and how to register may be found at:

USA – Bronx: Legionnaires’ disease cases being investigated in Co-op City

Outbreak News Today Legionella A

New York City health officials announced Wednesday that they are investigating three Legionnaires’ disease cases in three connected buildings at Co-op City in the Bronx. One person has died and to others in connecting buildings have been treated and released from the hospital.

Health officials urged residents of these buildings to seek treatment if they experience symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease. In addition, residents who are over 50 or have underlying medical conditions should avoid showering until the investigation is completed.

“We are in the process of undertaking an examining the water system, a process we take very seriously”, a top health officials noted.

Legionnaires’ disease is the cause of pneumonia where a non productive cough is typical. In addition, it is typified by headache, fever, body aches and occasionally abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Legionella bacteria are widely distributed, and normally grow best in warm water environments. They have been found in creeks and ponds, water taps (primarily hot water taps), hot water tanks, cooling towers and evaporative condensers, whirlpool spas, and decorative fountains.


Research – Water safety checks dangerously underestimate pathogen levels, study suggests

Phys Org

Deadly bacteria lurking in drinking water storage tanks could be missed by standard health and safety tests, scientists have warned in a new report.

Cold water storage tanks supplying public drinking water are regularly checked for harmful pathogenic bacteria such as Legionnaires’ disease and E.coli.

However, microbiological analysis by researchers from Brunel University London found that samples taken as standard from the top of the tank are 40% less likely to raise a red flag than samples taken from the opposite end.

One in five samples taken from the top of the tank didn’t trigger the urgent action that samples from the bottom of the same tank showed was needed.

“These results call into question the reliability of present measures used to protect the public from waterborne pathogenic diseases, including Legionella,” said Aji Peter, a Ph.D. student from Brunel’s Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, who carried out the research.

Cold water storage tanks are often found on the roofs or in the basements of public buildings such as schools and hospitals, and can be a source of repeated bacterial contamination.

Current safety regulations require a of water be taken from under the ball valve at the top of the tank for regular microbiological monitoring, although scientists are now calling for the standard safety tests to be changed to look at samples taken from the far end of the tank, where is likely to be warmer and hold more bacteria-feeding sediment.

More information: Aji Peter et al. Present-day monitoring underestimates the risk of exposure to pathogenic bacteria from cold water storage tanks, PLOS ONE (2018). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0195635

Read more at:


USA – Cryptosporidium cases reported in La Crosse County, Wisconsin

Outbreak News Today 


La Crosse County health officials report experiencing an increase in reported Cryptosporidiosis cases. La Crosse County has had 4 cases of cryptosporidiosis during the past 2 weeks according to Carol Drury, RS, Environmental Health Manager with the La Crosse County Health Department.

Four additional cases have been reported statewide associated with exposure from La Crosse County. The Health Department has identified that the cases have occurred among children and adults.

Public Health/Environmental Health staff are working to prevent further spread by contacting infected persons, recommending treatment and hygiene practices per guidelines from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

USA – FDA Recall Nephros Filtered Water Products – Bacteria – Virus


Nephros is recalling its non-medical water filtration SafeSpout and SafeShower products because they may pose risks to health, potentially resulting in sickness or death. The Nephros SafeSpout and SafeShower are intended to filter water for washing and drinking. The devices are installed at the end of a standard sink faucet or shower head.

This recall involves all production lots of the following filters, manufactured between July 2011 and September 2013 and distributed between October 2011 – 2013.

  • SafeSpout 70-0233, 70-0238
  • SafeShower HH (Hand Held) 70-0237
  • SafeShower FH (Fixed Head) 70-0236

Risk: Exposure to harmful bacteria may occur when the fiber filter or the sealing compound holding the fiber in place breaks apart. If the filter breaks, consumers could be exposed to bacteria or viruses, which could result in infection or death. Reports of one death and one infection are associated with this recall.


  • Consumers who have purchased these products should stop using them immediately and return all filters to Nephros Inc. 41 Grand Ave., River Edge, NJ 07661-1947.
  • Consumers may contact Nephros Inc. at: 1-201-343-5202 ext.100 Monday – Friday 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.

HPA Scotland – Contaminated Water Tanks


A recent Estates and Facilities Alert issued by Health Facilities Scotland (HFS) has noted that contamination of water supplies was found in two recent projects within NHS Scotland. Extensive testing traced the source to the cold water storage tanks which gave TVC (Total Viable Count) readings for Pseudomonas in excess of 500cfu/100ml (after 72-hour incubation). TVC readings fell to 0cfu/100ml immediately after disinfecting the tanks but had reverted to high levels at later re-testing.

Chile – Norovirus Outbreak 3000 Sick


The city of Ovalle in Chile’s Coquimbo region suffered a massive outbreak of norovirus in the first week of September, infecting 3,000-plus residents, due to insufficient chlorine levels in the potable water supplied by water utility Aguas del Valle, according to a release by the regional health authority Seremi.