Legionella are bacteria that are found in small numbers in surface water and groundwater all over the world. They can enter the human body via drinking water and cause clinical pictures that start with flu-like symptoms and extend to severe pneumonia.
The growth of Legionella is crucially related to water temperature.
Legionella proliferate in the cells of amoebae and other microorganisms that form biofilms in pipe networks. They find ideal conditions at temperatures between 25 °C and 55 °C. This is why they are often found in pipes, water tanks or air conditioning systems. Especially in older and poorly maintained or little used systems there is a significant increase of legionella.
The limits for tolerable Legionella colonization depend on the risk to humans. In areas where people with impaired immune systems live, e.g. in old people’s homes or hospitals, the systems should be completely free of Legionella.
Today, legionella is mainly controlled by thermal methods. Heating the water helps reliably, but consumes considerable energy.
oxytec relies on UV water disinfection, which works reliably with a fraction of the energy. Corresponding disinfection devices can be easily integrated into existing systems.