ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 62

HVAC APPLICATIONS
COLUMN

Evidence Shows Need
To Address Pathogenic
Bacteria in U.S.
Drinking Water Systems
BY DARYN CLINE, MEMBER ASHRAE; SARAH FERRARI

Legionnaires' disease is on the rise. Unfortunately, efforts to prevent Legionnaires'
disease to date have focused on building water systems rather than the municipal
water supply. Building water systems are too far downstream to correct the problem, and, as a result, these efforts have been ineffective in curbing the incidence of
legionellosis.
It is unrealistic to place on building owners and operators the burden and risk for providing pathogen-free
water throughout buildings when the water delivered
to their buildings contains Legionella bacteria. Legionella
is commonly found in source waters (Figure 1a) and in
the soil, and thus, if untreated at the municipal water
treatment plant and in the distribution systems, the
Legionella bacteria will necessarily find its way into
buildings. More needs to be done by the municipal
water suppliers to minimize Legionella bacteria in the
drinking water supply before it can enter building
water systems. Legionnaires' disease is the number one
waterborne disease associated with potable water in
the United States, and it is lethal; approximately 10% of
those who contract the disease will lose their lives.
Minimizing water pathogen risks is a shared responsibility between municipal water suppliers and building
owners. At present, however, regulatory efforts seek to
62

ASHRAE JOURNAL

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APRI L 2020

put responsibility for all preventive measures on building owners and operators. Consider the following:
* Water management plans based on standards like
ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems, or the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention's (CDC) toolkit, "Developing
a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella
Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to
Implementing Industry Standards," typically require
testing for Legionella in building water systems.
* Current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) regulations do not require municipal water supDaryn Cline is director of environmental technologies for EVAPCO in Taneytown, Md.
He is a member of the SPC 191, Standard for the Efficient Use of Water in Building
Mechanical Systems committee, and was a member of the ASHRAE Guideline 12-2000,
Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems, committee.
Prior to retirement, Sarah Ferrari was the senior product development manager for
evaporative condenser technology at EVAPCO in Taneytown, Md. She was member of
SPC 188, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.


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ASHRAE Journal - April 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASHRAE Journal - April 2020

Contents
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Intro
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover1
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover2
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 1
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Contents
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - 3
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ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover3
ASHRAE Journal - April 2020 - Cover4
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