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How to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease in Your Hotel

How to Prevent Legionnaires' Disease in Your Hotel

At a time when Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks throughout the United States have increased fivefold, more people are being sickened by the Legionella bacterium through exposure to contaminated and untreated hotel water systems.




Legionnaires’ disease is a serious lung infection caused by Legionella bacteria.  It can be associated with hotels and resorts, and may be deadly and costly.  Prevention keeps guests and employees healthy – it makes good business sense, too!

Legionella can grow and spread in many areas of hotels and resorts. Legionella can make people sick when the bacteria grow in water and spread in droplets small enough for people to breathe in. Legionella grows best in warm water that is not moving or that does not have enough disinfectant to kill the bacteria. Read more about that HERE.


Cooling Towers – when disinfectant levels are low, cooling tower fans can spray water containing Legionella bacteria


Showers – Legionella can grow in and spread through shower heads if a building’s water has low disinfectant levels


Unoccupied Floors – Low occupancy decreases water flow, which can decrease disinfectant levels and increase the risk of growth


Hot Tubs – If hot tubs are not well maintained, the warm temperature supports growth of Legionella, which can spread through water jets


Water Supply Interruptions – Events that interrupt the delivery of municipal water to a building, such as nearby construction, allow dirt to enter the system and use up disinfectant


Decorative Fountains – Legionella can grow in warm areas of a fountain and splashing can spread water containing


Hotel Counter



The CDC outlines strategies hotel owners and managers should take to keep their guests protected. You can read more about their strategies here: https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/wmp/hotel-owners-managers.html


Guest and Employee Safety is the First Priority


  • • Legionnaires’ disease is deadly for approximately 1 in 10 people who get it.


  • • Outbreaks at hotels and resorts may interrupt services, which can diminish the guest experience and lead to considerable financial and reputational costs.  The PR nightmares that surround hotels with an outbreak seem to be never ending. Investigations and lawsuits continue years after an outbreak is detected.


As responsible corporate stewards, hotel owners and operators want to protect the people who visit their buildings.  But how can this be done?


Your Hotel or Resort Needs a Water Management Program


The problems that lead to Legionnaires’ disease are preventable through water management plans and programs.  A water management program is a multi-step continuous process designed to:


  • • Identify areas in a building where Legionella could grow and spread 

  • • Reduce risk by managing and monitoring the water system

  • • Trigger action when risks are identified.


Read more about IWC’s defensible water management programs HERE.


Selecting a certified water consultant to help with your hotel’s water management program can be difficult.  Your consultants need to be partners in the water management plan process with an understanding of your hotel’s specific layout and plumbing foundations.  Consultants must have experience and thorough knowledge of national, state, and local codes, standards, and regulations.  IWC has been helping hotels and resorts become compliant with their water management programs with individualized and building specific plans.  Our engineers conduct thorough Legionella risk assessments and develop defensible water management programs that are not a “one size fits all” approach.  Our programs are tailored and customized for your hotel. 


Contact one of IWC’s experts to find out about our easy and cost effective our water management programs.




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