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Regularly Maintaining a Building’s Water Supply System Can Reduce the Chance of Legionella Growth

EMSL Analytical offers rapid PCR and traditional culturing methods to identify Legionella, the microbial pathogen that causes Legionnaires’ disease and Pontiac fever.

Dallas, TX – WEBWIRE

An Arkansas apartment complex experienced an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the fall of 2019 and remediation strategies aimed at the removal of Legionella bacteria are still taking place. This concern came to light when several residents tested positive for the disease and another case followed in September of 2020. Thankfully, the apartment residents were offered alternative housing at the expense of the apartment complex until all bacteria are eradicated and a new water plan has been developed and is in place.

Legionella is found naturally in the environment but can proliferate rapidly upon entering many man-made water systems. In this case, the main water intake tested negative for Legionella but water samples from unmaintained apartments tested positive for the bacteria. A new water supply system, which aims at reducing Legionella growth and spread, will be implemented throughout the building regardless of where the bacteria was found. In 2019, the apartment management had asked residents to avoid activities that would create water aerosolization, since the bacteria enters the lungs through these contaminated water droplets. Other man-made water systems that can encourage the spread of Legionella include cooling towers, potable water systems, hot tubs, hot water tanks, large plumbing systems and decorative fountains.

“It is important to proactively monitor for Legionella,” said Joseph Frasca, Senior Vice President of Marketing at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “Taking preemptive measures to test these man-made water systems, as part of an organized water management program to detect Legionella exposure risks, can limit illnesses, outbreaks and fatalities. It’s especially important for buildings that house elderly residents to actively maintain their water systems and test them regularly for Legionella. If water systems are improperly maintained, it becomes a breeding ground for Legionella growth. If an outbreak has already occurred, testing can be instrumental for identifying the source of the bacteria before more cases of Legionnaires’ disease are contracted.”

EMSL Analytical, Inc. offers traditional culturing methods, rapid quantitative PCR and Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) test methods to identify Legionella from all types of environmental samples. All 20 of our Legionella laboratories have received the CDC’s Certificate of Proficiency from its ELITE Program for Legionella testing and another six locations are certified by NYSDOH ELAP to test for Legionella through their accreditation program.

To learn more about Legionella or other microbial testing services, please visit or, email  or call (800) 220-3675.

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is one of the leading testing laboratories with 46 locations throughout the United States and Canada. EMSL is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider specializing in fast laboratory results for mold, bacteria, Legionella, USP 797, pathogens, asbestos, lead, soot, char & ash from fires, VOC’s, odors, radon, formaldehyde, indoor air quality, microbiology, environmental, industrial hygiene, radiological, food, beverage & consumer products and material testing services for the identification of unknown substances. EMSL services both professionals and the general public. EMSL maintains an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies including, but not limited to A2LA, AIHA-LAP, LLC (AIHA-LAP, LLC EMLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC IHLAP, AIHA-LAP, LLC ELLAP), NVLAP, CDC ELITE, CPSC, CA ELAP, NY ELAP, TX DOH, NJDEP and multiple other state accrediting agencies. Please visit our website at for a complete listing of accreditations. In addition, EMSL carries a wide range of Sampling Equipment and Investigative Products for environmental professionals.

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 Legionnaires’ Disease
 Man-made Water System
 Water Test

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