When it is time to call for an ASSE 12080 Certified Water Treatment Expert
Imagine taking a relaxing shower after a day of attending seminars and ending up getting sick instead. This could be a very real scenario in the upcoming days when many hotels and even hospitals open after a long shutdown. One potential reason? Legionella pneumophila.
This gram-negative, water-loving bacteria is the causative agent of Legionellosis and is almost certain to be present in pipes and water lines containing stagnant water. Legionellosis is an infectious disease with varying symptoms including encephalitis, acute pneumonia, “Pontiac fever” etc. With a mortality rate of 10–15%, it’s a concern for most organizations opening up after an extended period of time.
How to Prevent Legionella Contamination?
According to Dr. Edward S. Johnson, contaminated aerosol inhalation is the most common route of transmission. In his article in the book Infections of the Central Nervous System: Pathology and Genetics he mentions air conditioners, fountains, water heaters, showers, humidifiers, and even spas can be hotspots for spreading legionella. The only way of prevention is rooting out the bacteria from the water system of the whole building.
Point of Entry Filtration vs. Point of Use Filtration: What Should You Use?
Point of Entry (or POE) and point of use (or POU) are two types of filtration systems based on their installation site. These systems can use a single technology or a combination of technologies to handle difficulties with incoming water. In processing significantly higher flow rates and volumes, POE systems are substantially larger than POU systems.
POE filtration removes contaminants from the water that enters the building water system. It can also be installed where the water enters the city walls. The benefit of using POE systems is catching the heavy scales, sediments, and other materials which help to create an ideal condition for Legionella growth. By removing these factors, the contamination rate is expected to decrease.
POU or point-of-use filters are the second and the strongest line of defense against Legionella. It is also microfiltration of the water where it is being used; in the building water system. According to a study, selectively installing POU filters on a building with POE filters in place and also adding a manual or automatic flushing of the problem sites, is an effective method of preventing Legionella.
The safest route is to install both POE and POU at first, then a full disinfection with bactericidal chemicals of the stagnant water can be done, followed by testing of all outlets. The POU filtration on the problem sites should remain, while the others can be easily serviced and replaced as needed.
What is the ASSE 12080 Certification, and Why Should You Call an Expert?
The Joint Commission (TJC) Standard Environment of Care (EC) 02.05.02 was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on January 7, 2021, and will go into effect January 1, 2022. It was issued on March 19, 2021, stating that all healthcare facilities, specifically hospitals and nursing care facilities, are required to have water management programs which “addresses Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.”
The water management program includes an individual or team responsible for oversight and implementation of the program, including but not limited to the development, management, and maintenance activities. You need a Water Management Program and a Water Management Team with strict accountability for documentation.
To correctly implement the above-mentioned technique an expert in waterborne pathogens is needed. Garratt Callahan has a team of ASSE 12080 certified experts who are Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialists on board for this very purpose.
In early 2020, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopted important standards and certifications in the wake of the Legionella outbreaks since 1976. In April of 2020, ANSI adopted the American Society of Safety Engineers 12080 (ASSE 12080) – Professional Qualifications Standard for Legionella Water Safety and Management Personnel.
Until ASSE 12080, there was no standard as to how performance-based risk assessments and environmental sampling for Legionella was to be performed.
The combination of the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2018 and now, the ANSI/ASSE 12080 certification completes a much-needed picture in the proper execution and qualifications to perform the measures required for overall building code and CDC compliance. Water Safety is an ever-growing concern of all building owners and operators. The assurance of having well-qualified people conduct and help implement Water Safety Management Programs will help owners and operators have peace of mind.
How To Demonstrate Full Compliance
The G-C Water Safety Team provides independent verification and validation that programs are defensible and water management goals have been achieved. Garratt-Callahan has committed to having over 200 field-level personnel be ASSE 12080 certified by the end of 2021.
There are various levels of service to meet your compliance needs and to properly support your Water Management Program (WMP). Our most popular service is a web-based Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS). This system will provide all of the documentation, diagrams, and test data needed to prepare for a Surveyor’s review of your WMP and demonstrate compliance with all areas of responsibility. Request a demonstration and discuss any required services with our Water Safety Team.
The new Joint Commission’s Standard Environment of Care, EC.02.05.02, which was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has issued no less than 8 new sections taking effect in January 2022. Staying on top of the requirements to demonstrate compliance is getting tougher and will require all healthcare facilities, specifically hospitals and nursing care facilities, to have water management programs which “addresses Legionella and other waterborne pathogens.”
The ASSE Certification 12080 has created a direct connection to the resources you will need to have a water safety expert as part of your Water Management Team. Garratt-Callahan is not only committed to supplying this support but offers the resources to compile the documentation and manage ongoing updates.
Your comprehensive WMP, as designed by our certified Water Safety Team, will not only meet the requirements of the new standards but provide ongoing feedback as to confirmation of implementation and validation of the effectiveness. Each WMP is customized with building water system diagrams and specific optimization points for improving safety and efficiency. These programs include regulatory compliance, data management, and water testing analytical services, including Legionella testing services.
Frequently Asked Legionella Prevention Questions:
- What types of sterilization are available and will penetrate the built-up biofilm?
Chlorine Dioxide, however this is not a singular action. While the chemicals do their job, the entire system needs to be serviced and examined for corrective mechanical actions that will improve patient safety and satisfaction.
- How do I know I’m covered?
Have G-C audit your Water Safety Program to see if you’re compliant.
- Do I have to do Legionella testing?
It may vary state-by-state, however the CDC recommendations state it is the best way to validate the effectiveness of your WMP
- Will this protect me from other waterborne pathogens?
Our multi-barrier approach will reduce your risk significantly.
- Can your facility get Legionella from outside of your building water system?
Yes. Legionella can exist in water particles that float through the air, and your municipality may even supply water containing the bacteria to your front door.
- How does someone become ASSE 12080 certified?
After completing 24 hours of ASSE 12080 approved courses, the test taker must then review several different documents/standards (which include the ANSI-ASHRAE-188-2018, the CDC 2017 and 2021 Legionella Toolkit, and the American National Standard ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI 12080 document). Upon completion of all courses and review of all applicable documents, the test taker must now take the ASSE 12080 Course itself, whereupon receiving a passing grade then makes the test taker ASSE 12080 Certified.
About Garratt-Callahan: Over A Century of Water Treatment Expertise
Now in our second century of service, Garratt-Callahan is more than an experienced water treatment company. We’re a company of experienced professionals, from our field engineers to our technical service departments. Our client relationships are built on fairness, honesty, and integrity. By thoroughly understanding your needs and challenges, we can then roll up our sleeves to find solutions that work.