Doctor is using a stethoscope for patient examination

ASHRAE has developed resources it hopes can help to reduce the risk of Legionella, a disease that recently broke out in the non-profit group’s home city of Atlanta.

Resources distributed by ASHRAE include Standard 188, which provides a comprehensive approach to help prevent the growth and spread of Legionella within building water systems.

Dozens of people have been impacted by the legionnaires’ disease outbreak that started at a Sheraton hotel in Atlanta. 

“With the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Atlanta, we would like to increase awareness of the resources available to help minimize health risks associated with building water systems,” says Darryl K. Boyce, ASHRAE president.

Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by bacteria found in bodies of freshwater, like lakes, rivers or streams. The CDC estimates approximately 6,100 cases of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States each year. Most of those cases result from exposure to Legionella found in building water systems.

In 2018, ASHRAE published a revised edition of Standard 188, which designers and building operators can use to help establish water management plans specific to the systems in particular buildings, campuses or health care facilities. Guideline 12, “Minimizing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems,” is currently in revision and provides more detailed descriptions of best practices.

“By creating a framework for proactively managing building water systems and reducing the potential for Legionella growth in these systems, following Standard 188 can help building and facility managers prevent many but not all cases of legionellosis,” says Boyce.