Water Hygiene

Legionnaire’s disease

Legionella bacteria are found in streams, rivers and lakes. They are also found in soil, compost and mains water and can sometimes enter a home’s water system.

Legionnaires’ disease is transmitted by inhalation of contaminated water droplets, like spray from a shower or taps. Anyone can catch it, but most sufferers tend to be over 50 years old. Anyone with a weak immune system, an underlying condition or those who smoke are at greater risk.

You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease from drinking water.


To keep bacteria numbers low and prevent disease:

  • Flush through taps/showers for a couple of minutes following a period of non-use i.e after you have been on holiday
  • Descale your taps and shower heads at least every 3 months
  • Drain hosepipes after use and keep out of direct sunlight
  • Keep stored hot water in your system at a temperature of 50c or greater (immersion heaters etc). Please be aware of the risk of scalding.

Additional guidance can be found in the Approved Code of Practice and guidance for Legionnaires’ disease on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.