A company has launched a new service which detects water-based bacteria that can lead to a potentially fatal lung disease.

Eton Environmental Group is carrying out legionella testing at business premises to help companies meet their health and safety obligations in regard to minimising the risk of exposure to legionella.

Each year, in the UK, there are around 400 cases of Legionnaire’s Disease and the majority are caused by workplace exposure to legionella bacteria found in man-made waste systems, particularly hot and cold water systems.

Christian Shaefer, Managing Director of Eton Environmental Group, said: “Legionella is a form of pneumonia which can be contacted by inhaling small drops of water suspended in air which contain legionella bacteria.

“Any water system with the right environmental conditions could be a source for legionella bacteria growth, so if you are an employer, or someone in control of premises, you have a duty to understand and manage legionella risks.

“Our new service involves carrying out legionella risk assessments, which will help businesses understand their water system, establish legionella risks and define any action that should be taken to prevent the spread of legionella bacteria.”

There is a risk of legionella if water systems have a temperature of between 20-45 degrees C, creates and/or spreads breathable droplets or contain a source of nutrients for the organism to grow, e.g. rust or scale.

Whilst hot and cold water systems are the most common sources of legionella, it can also be found in humidifiers, air washers and even indoor ornamental fountains.

Mr Shaefer added:

“If necessary, samples can be sent to a specialist laboratory where the water sample will be analysed for Legionella bacteria.

“Where legionella bacteria is identified, we can then advise employers on the most appropriate action to take to remedy the problem.

“Legionnaires Disease can kill, so it is vital that employers take all necessary precautions to ensure the health and safety of their staff.”

Employers who would like more information on legionella testing can contact Eton Environmental on 01325 366886.