Physical and chemical parameter correlations with technical and technological characteristics of heating systems and the presence of Legionella spp. in the hot water supply.

Research paper by Anita A Rakić, Nives N Štambuk-Giljanović

Indexed on: 07 Jan '16Published on: 07 Jan '16Published in: Environmental Monitoring and Assessment


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Legionella spp. and compare the quality of hot water between four facilities for accommodation located in Southern Croatia (the Split-Dalmatian County). The research included data collection on the technical and technological characteristics in the period from 2009 to 2012. The survey included a type of construction material for the distribution and internal networks, heating system water heater type, and water consumption. Changes in water quality were monitored by determination of the physical and chemical parameters (temperature, pH, free chlorine residual concentrations, iron, zinc, copper and manganese) in the samples, as well as the presence and concentration of bacteria Legionella spp. The temperature is an important factor for the development of biofilms, and it is in negative correlation with the appearance of Legionella spp. Positive correlations between the Fe and Zn concentrations and Legionella spp. were established, while the inhibitory effect of a higher Cu concentration on the Legionella spp. concentration was proven. Legionella spp. were identified in 38/126 (30.2%) of the water samples from the heating system with zinc-coated pipes, as well as in 78/299 (26.1%) of the samples from systems with plastic pipes. A similar number of Legionella spp. positive samples were established regardless of the type of the water heating system (central or independent). The study confirms the necessity of regular microbial contamination monitoring of the drinking water distribution systems (DWDSs).