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Seccua Home Solutions

Seccua Brochure including all information you need to select the right water treatment technology for your home

Risks from Water During

Risks from Water During 2000–2014, passive surveillance for Legionellosis in the United States demonstrated a 286% increase in reported cases per 100,000 population. Source: Legionella in drinking water Whether you take a shower in the morning, at night, or after a workout, it helps to revive our senses and give us a new burst of energy. Hardly anyone would doubt that showering is healthy. But can we always be so sure? Legionella are bacteria that cause lethal Legionnaires’ disease (a severe form of pneumonia) and Pontiac fever. Legionella is a tiny bacterium that occurs naturally in soil and surface water and passes into our water pipes through the cold water. They thrive and multiply particularly well in the hot water systems in our homes, in other words, the lines feeding our home showers. And, if you use energy-saving water heating systems, such as those power by solar or heat pump, Legionella thrives particularly well due to the relatively low temperatures of the hot water. Legionnaires’ disease is widely spread, often unrecognised When you inhale the spray and steam coming off your shower head, you run the risk of inhaling bacteria, including Legionella. According to estimates by the US Center of disease control CDC, some 1,500 cases of legionnaires disease (Legionellosis) per 100,000 population have been reported in the US in 2014 with increasing numbers. Legionellosis is a severe form of pneumonia caused by inhaling Legionella in a shower or in the water vapor coming off HVAC systems. Hot water is ineffective at killing Legionella High temperatures were formerly used to fight Legionella in our water supplies, although only very inadequately. The temperature needed to be kept above 60°C (140 °F) in all segments of the systems. The technical design of the pipelines coupled with calcification, biofilm, and amoebas in the lines keep the high temperatures from reaching and killing Legionella. Studies at Technical University Zurich (Switzerland), ETH Zurich, also show that Legionella can survive for up to 60 minutes a temperatures of 70°C (158 °F). Long-standing, traditional methods for sanitising our pipelines are therefore not reliable! Modern, energy-efficient water heaters such as those powered by geothermal or solar are usually also not able to raise the water temperature sufficiently to ensure that the Legionella is effectively killed. 8

School-building in Illinois, closed due to high levels of legionella. Risks from Water Frequently asked questions about Legionella Where do Legionella bacteria come from? Legionella is naturally found in soil and natural waterways and thus everywhere in the water supply. From there, it gets flushed into the pipelines of our buildings where the bacteria multiply explosively, which is why protecting against Legionella is so important. Legionella live from dead bacteria, so they need a constant supply from the water supply. Most Legionella live in biofilms which provide outstanding protection against heat and disinfectant chemicals. This makes protection against Legionella absolutely necessary. When do Legionella become dangerous? Legionella enter the lungs through tiny water droplets that we breathe in while showering or from humidifiers. Infection with Legionella can cause severe pneumonia. According to estimates by the Robert Koch Institute, some 30,000 people in Germany come down with Legionellosis each year, and 1,200 die from this pneumonia. Does chlorine fight Legionella? Biofilm in the pipe network consists of bacteria, other microorganisms, and a lot of slime produced by the micro-organisms to protect themselves and to enrich their nutrients. Biofilm is found in every niche caused by rust, lime, pipe fittings, or valves, but it can also adhere even to the walls of new pipes. Bacteria can also easily move from one part of the pipeline system to another: they break off from their colony, taking a part of the biofilm with them, and then move to another section of pipe. Often they end up in showerheads. Chlorine can only penetrate these biofilms if used at very high concentrations. Our old pipelines cannot withstand such high concentrations so the continuous dosage at those levels is not allowed. Low concentrations are ineffective. 9

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