International Emerging Technology Symposium

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and other industry groups sponsored this symposium in Arlington, VA this past week. The symposium covered a number of issues related to water and energy savings in buildings as well as on site water reuse and wastewater technologies. ASDWA staff attended a portion of the event that focused on Legionella. During this panel discussion, speakers identified many things we do know about Legionella and its control, as well as many things we don’t. We collectively understand a lot, for instance, about the control of Legionella in building water systems. Maintaining hot and cold water temperatures in a range that is not conducive to Legionella growth is a good control strategy; but plumbing systems are not always designed to do that and operators don’t understand the need to maintain proper temperatures.
Some speakers indicated that the current regulatory environment (considering buildings that add treatment as part of their premise plumbing as public water systems) makes it more complex to operate building water systems and may discourage facilities from taking preventative action. A proposed ASRAE standard on Legionella has been 10 years in the making but may finally be proposed this year. Problems often arise shortly after buildings are occupied because disinfection of plumbing systems was done long before the building was completed and no retreatment was done before occupancy to control recolonization of biofilms.
Education of building designers and operators is also key to effective control of Legionella and there is positive news on that front. Through events like this symposium, the industry is becoming more aware and manufacturers are beginning to bring water quality control equipment to market. Attendees were also encouraged to work together to advocate for better standards and guidance, including requesting more appropriate regulatory provisions.
ASDWA continues to track a number of Legionella related activities including the EPA-CDC work group and upcoming Smart Water Leadership Summit. A special session on Hazard Assessment at Critical Control Points (HACCP) for Legionella control is planned for the 2014 ASDWA Annual Conference. We will keep members informed of significant actions.