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Hydrosense highlights FM’s role in battling legionella in cooling towers

Technical Director raises awareness on rapid self-testing method during FM Expo

| | Sep 26, 2018 | 1:48 pm
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Dubai, UAE, 26 September 2018: The role of FM solution providers in battling legionella in cooling towers can often be overlooked, yet it remains vital for the safety and well-being of building inhabitants. Richard Campbell, Technical Director, Hydrosense, spoke on the issue during the company’s participation in FM Expo, highlighting efforts to raise awareness on rapid self-testing for legionella, as part of a building owners’ risk management plan. “The main point is to get across the importance of testing, as part of FM solutions,” Campbell said. “Most facility managers know that they have to send samples off to get culture testing. What a lot of them are not aware of, is that culture does not pick up quite a lot of positive samples for legionella, mainly due to a phenomenon known as VNBC, which is viable but non-culturable legionella. When legionella is exposed to high temperatures it will go into a dormant phase and in that phase it is not able to be detected by culture. What you need in those instances are methods other than culture to detect the organism.” Campbell explained this is why Hydrosense’s solution detects antigens on the surface of the legionella organism, which is always present in all stages across the reproductive cycle of the legionella bacteria.

Campbell said the company has a partnership in the UAE and is selling their products through Culligan. Campbell added that there is scope for improvement with regard to the level of awareness on the proper testing for legionella. “People are aware of legionella but not the actual technical background to the organism, and how and when you should test and some of the positives and negatives of the different testing methods out there,” he said, adding that this is what underpins Hydrosense’s commitment to educating the public. Speaking on the level of training needed to manage the testing, Campbell said the test can be done with a relatively low level of expertise and training, as long as proper instructions are followed, and, as with all testing methods, there is a level of specialised training needed.

As to the payback that comes from investing in integrating the testing system into the portfolio of FM providers, Campbell highlighted, instead, the consequences that come from lack of vigilance. “A potential outbreak could cost a company in terms of reputation, and that results in loss of business,” he said. “It’s about preventing the level of exposure you might get, if you have a positive result that culture testing is going to miss.” Campbell added that in the UK, the FM industry is highly regulated, especially when it comes to legionella, under the scope of risk management, and that the UAE is on the same path, in rolling out stringent regulations and standards.


Hannah Jo Uy is Assistant Editor at Climate Control Middle East magazine. She may be contacted at hannah@cpi-industry.com

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