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Legionella regulations and guidelines

The South Australian Public Health (Legionella) Regulations 2013 and the Guidelines for the Control of Legionella in Manufactured Water Systems in South Australia (PDF 270KB) aim to reduce the risk of community and healthcare acquired Legionnaires’ disease.

These Regulations and Guidelines:

  • formalise the management of warm water systems and cooling water systems in non-domestic settings
  • prescribe a number of specific requirements for owners and operators of cooling water systems and warm water systems

See the following for further information: 

Definitions

Cooling water system - a heat exchange system that consists of a heat generating plant, a heat rejection plant, interconnecting water recirculating pipe work and associated pumps, valves and controls, and includes a cooling tower or evaporative condenser. If cooling towers or evaporative condensers on the same site do not share the same recirculating water, then they are considered to be separate cooling water systems.

Warm water system - a reticulated water system that distributes or recirculates warm water through the majority of its branches at a nominal temperature of 45°C by means of a temperature controlling device. See the Determining if a heated water system is captured under the Legionella Regulations page to determine if your heated water systems are captured under the Legionella Regulations.

Owner of the premises - includes a reference to an occupier of the premises if the occupier is responsible for the operation of the system

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Regulated systems

The Regulations apply to the owner(s) of all warm water system(s) and/or cooling water system(s), except for systems installed in:

  • a Class 1A, 4 or 10 building (private single domestic dwelling) under the Building Code, or
  • a sole occupancy unit in a class 2 building (unit or flat) under the Building Code, provided that it is not a warm water system that serves more than one dwelling.

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Fees

The following fees relate to high risk manufactured water systems from 1 July 2017:

Registration - $37.00 for the first system, $24.80 for each subsequent system installed on the same premises

Renewal - $18.60 per system

Inspection - $148.00 for the first system, $98.50 for each subsequent system installed on the same premises

Determination or approval - $619.00

All fees listed above are GST exempt. GST will apply to fees related to the collection, submission and analysis of microbiological samples.

Application forms

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Inspections

The Legionella Regulations require system owners to conduct monthly inspections of regulated systems and ensure periodic preventative maintenance is performed as prescribed.

Environmental health officers from the relevant authority (for example, the local council) must ensure all regulated systems are inspected at least annually and may inspect systems at any time in relation to disease investigations, reports of non-compliance, Legionella detection or complaints.

Also, see the Safe access to cooling towers for inspection, cleaning and maintenance fact sheet (PDF 170KB) and the High risk manufactured water system compliance inspection by an independent competent inspector page.

Inspection forms

SA Health has produced inspection and report proformas to assist local authorities and independent competent inspectors in undertaking mandatory compliance inspections and producing the required reports.

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Decontamination and notification

When Legionella is detected at specified concentrations in a water sample collected from a cooling water system or warm water system, the owner of the system must immediately shut down the system, pending decontamination or decontaminate in accordance with a prescribed procedure/ alternative decontamination procedure approved by the Minister.

See the Decontamination of high risk manufactured water systems fact sheet (PDF 153KB) for information relating to decontamination of water systems.

System owners must also notify the relevant authority (local council) within 24 hours of receiving a report indicating the presence of Legionella at a specified concentration in a water sample collected from a regulated system, using the Notification of Legionella detection in a water sample - form (DOC 79KB)

Responding to legionella detection for local authorities

The detection of Legionella in warm water systems or cooling water systems indicates a potential failure of the risk management regimes and the presence of a potentially serious risk to the health of people exposed to aerosols generated by the system. The Guidance for local authorities: responding to Legionella detection in warm water and cooling water systems (PDF 84KB) fact sheet has been developed to assist local authorities to meet their obligations to ensure appropriate action is taken by regulated system owners in response to the detection of Legionella.

Alternative decontamination procedure

Regulation 18 of the South Australian Public Health (Legionella) Regulations 2013 enables system owners to apply to the Minister for Health and Ageing for approval to use an alternative (to a prescribed) maintenance program or decontamination procedure for a particular high risk manufactured water system. See determinations and approvals for detailed information, including how to obtain approval.

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Determinations and approvals

The Legionella Regulations enables system owners to apply to the Minister for Health for approval to use an alternative (to a prescribed) maintenance program or decontamination procedure for a particular high risk manufactured water system.

Applications can also be made for a determination by the Minister that cooling towers in a particular system need not be fitted with compliant drift eliminators.

A determinations and approvals fact sheet (PDF 106KB) has been developed to assist you in the:

  • process of applying for an alternative maintenance program, decontamination procedure or drift eliminator determination
  • minimum information required in an application.

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Forms

Notifications

Applications

Reports

SA Health has produced inspection and report proformas to assist local authorities and independent competent inspectors in undertaking mandatory compliance inspections and producing the required reports.

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For more information

For more information contact SA Health's Health Protection Programs:

Telephone: (08) 8226 7100
Facsimile: (08) 8226 7102

Email address: legionella@health.sa.gov.au

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