GAA clubs nationwide have been warned to check their water systems in order to avoid the risk of members contracting legionnaire’s disease and bacteria such as E. coli.
With Covid numbers declining, there are growing hopes that there will be a return to some activities at GAA clubs in April.
However, the five-month closure of club facilities means that the lack of usage of facilities could raise potential issues.
Many clubhouses may have areas - including dressing rooms, toilets and kitchens - where there could be stagnant water.
“It is important that water is not allowed to stagnate within the water system and so there should be careful management of properties left vacant for extended periods,” a GAA’s club newsletter for March states.
“As a general principle, outlets on hot and cold water systems should be used at least once a week to maintain a degree of water flow and minimise the chances of stagnation.
“To manage the risks during non-occupancy, consideration should be given to implementing a suitable flushing regime or other measures such as draining the system if it is to remain vacant for long periods.”
So, it will be a case of flush and go before matters can get up and running again.
The following advice is issued:
“For hot and cold water systems, temperature is the most reliable way of ensuring the risk of exposure to Legionella bacteria is minimised i.e. keep the hot water hot, cold water cold and keep it moving. Other simple control measures to help control the risk of exposure to Legionella include: - Flushing out the system on a regular basis
- Avoiding debris getting into the system (e.g. ensure the cold water tanks, where fitted, have a tight fitting lid)
- Setting control parameters (e.g. setting the temperature of the hot water cylinder (calorifier) to ensure water is stored at 60°C)
- Make sure any redundant pipework identified is removed.