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Considerations When Working with Legionella Consultants*

If your building needs a Legionella water management program or remediation services, you may consider working with one or more Legionella consultants. Deciding whether to work with consultants at all, and if so the exact type and number of consultants you decide to use, will depend upon your situation and the consultant’s area of expertise.

Here are some factors you may want to consider when discussing with consultants:

  • Level of experience: For example, what kind of Legionella-specific experience do the employees of this company have? Do the employees have appropriate training in critical fields (e.g., engineering, environmental health or industrial hygiene, water treatment, plumbing, microbiology)? Does the company have Legionella-specific experience with a facility of your size/type? Do they have experience with water system remediation, implementation of water management programs to prevent Legionnaires’ disease, or both?
  • Laboratory expertise: For example, is the laboratory they use accredited for environmental testing? Does it participate in a proficiency testing program for Legionella? Does their laboratory perform culture for Legionella (which is particularly important following remediation to ensure adequacy of the remediation process)? What level of identification (species/serogroup) can their laboratory perform? Is their laboratory willing to save samples and isolates and share them with public health laboratories if requested during an outbreak investigation?
  • Environmental assessment expertise: For example, how much experience does the company have with environmental assessments and/or sampling for Legionella? Can they describe situations where they performed an environmental assessment and/or Legionella sampling in a facility of your size/type?
  • Remediation expertise: For example, how frequently does the company provide remediation services and can they describe situations where they remediated Legionella from a building water system in a facility of your size/type? Can the company discuss the benefits and challenges associated with multiple approaches to remediation?
  • Water management expertise: For example, how much experience does the company have creating water management programs compliant with industry standards for a facility of your size/type? What level of support does the company provide with creation and implementation of water management programs? What is the spectrum of services they offer once the water management program is established?
  • Knowledge of codes, standards, and regulations: For example, does the company have previous experience working in your state and/or jurisdiction? How familiar is the company with state and local building codes in your jurisdiction, water treatment regulations, healthcare accreditation and survey requirements, and public health reporting requirements? Local building code officials or your health department may be good resources for knowledge about existing codes, standards, and regulations.
  • Potential conflicts of interest: For example, does the company have interest in promoting specific services or products? 

These factors can help you think through how you will approach working with a Legionella consultant if you decide to engage one. It may be helpful to explore multiple options. Since every building’s situation is unique, there is not a “one size fits all” approach to this process.

*The decision to utilize a Legionella consultant service is solely the decision of the user of this content and not the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The information provided here is only intended to be general summary information to the public, and should not be cited as legal advice or an endorsement of the use of consultant services. References to the use of consultant services does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and such references shall not be used for advertising or endorsement purposes.

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