Legionella - Is it a problem in caravan's

Sep 4, 2017
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Erikmark made an interesting comment on another thread that I don't think is often discussed on the forum.

However you don't want water between 20 and 60 degs C, under 20 OK over 60 OK between legionella is a problem. And it kills, not just getting ill,....

Points worth exploring:

Do caravaners generally take any legionella precautions when using their van for the first time after a break?
Are you aware that in the main legionella bacteria is probably present in ALL WATER supplies at a park, including ablution facilities?
Do the precautions you take include the toilet flush tank water?
Is it really a risk, does anyone at all know of a single incidence of legionella from caravanning.

Feel free to come at this from any angle, (a comment that probably does not need mentioning, as if that did not happen something would be wrong!)
 

Damian

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Mar 14, 2005
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Quote " does anyone at all know of a single incidence of legionella from caravanning."
No.

I have been camping and caravanning all my life and have never ever been bothered by what temperature the water is, and it has on many occasions been within the "danger" temperatures.

Personally I think too much is made of highly unlikely situations and people feed off fear implanted by others.
If you read any "news" source there is always something that is going to kill you that you eat.

In fact it does not really matter what you do in life as long as you don't deliberately put yourself at risk, but be clear, you ARE going to die.

Maybe it is because I was brought up with natural foods, eggs straight from the chicken, meat from the butcher (my parents ran a meat delivery business, collecting slaughtered animals from the slaughterhouse and delivering to butchers shops, and it was all freash, not frozen and packed in plastic bags).fish straight from the sea etc , in other words we ate dirt quite often !!!

Today everything is so sanitised that people have lost the natural immunites that I have and it has been reported that people have started dying younger now !!!!! Figure that one out !!!
 
May 7, 2012
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I have never heard of it being a problem with caravans. The cases I have come across have been due to storage tanks not being cleaned regularly allowing the bacteria to breed. It is not limited to showers but can be from light spray coming from the tanks to those down below.. For us most water is from the mains so should not be a risk.
Sterilising the shower at the beginning of the year though cannot do any harm.
 
Mar 8, 2017
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No, it is not a problem in caravan's. It is normally associated with water cooled air conditioning systems where the water is heated and sprayed to cool it.

I use Puriclean to dose my Aquarolls and water system at the start of a tour and then forget about it.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Dodger524 said:
No, it is not a problem in caravan's. It is normally associated with water cooled air conditioning systems where the water is heated and sprayed to cool it...

Sorry Dodger and Damain,
Public buildings doe have to have water storage tanks checked and sanitised as part of their legal obligations under legionella control. Evidence of sanitisation has to be retained for inspection

Whether its really necessary is often called into question, until there is an outbreak and people get injured!

Certainly in theory caravan containers could harbour an infestation, and keeping a container at 30C would certainly increase the propagation of the pathogen. so sensible precautions should be taken to periodically cleanse the systems.

Has there been a case of Legionella caused by a caravan, I don't know. Would it be sensational enough to be reported? Who knows

Just take care.
 
May 24, 2014
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If there is no danger, you have to ask why Alde would add the antimicrobial setting on their system. Basically this when turned on will heat the water to a certain temperature which they "claim" is hot enough to be antimicrobial. Whether it works or not is anyones guess, but nevertheless its there.

I do agree with Damian in that we are becoming too sanitized. In my younger life I have eaten some real rubbish in various dens of iniquity, back street takeaways, tea and burger stalls and even K Rations and none ever seemed to make me ill. Nowadays the mere sight of a Kebab has my stomach churning.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Grey13 said:
Erikmark made an interesting comment on another thread that I don't think is often discussed on the forum.

However you don't want water between 20 and 60 degs C, under 20 OK over 60 OK between legionella is a problem. And it kills, not just getting ill,....

Points worth exploring:

Do caravaners generally take any legionella precautions when using their van for the first time after a break?
Are you aware that in the main legionella bacteria is probably present in ALL WATER supplies at a park, including ablution facilities?
Do the precautions you take include the toilet flush tank water?
Is it really a risk, does anyone at all know of a single incidence of legionella from caravanning.

Feel free to come at this from any angle, (a comment that probably does not need mentioning, as if that did not happen something would be wrong!)

If anyone wants to lay their fears to rest they should read the HSE's excellent guidance on controlling the risk from Leigionella. Unless you stick your head down the toilet bowl the risk of Legionella is zero, but even doing such stupid thing I expect some other nasty would get you before Legionella. Anyway Legionella affects the lungs and I am not aware of any connection between the backside and the mouth, some may disagree though.
You are extremely unlikely to get it from washing in a site's sinks as the droplets aren't inhaled and the hot water should be above the thermal death point of the bacteria. Showers are the main area of risk but the owners of sites will/should take steps to minimise the risks which are most likely to be present when the showers have not been used for sometime.
Recently I used a shower at my fathers house which hadn't been used for well over 2-3 years. I just dismantled the shower head and left it in Miton overnight, scrubbed it and reassembled it before running the shower at max temp for 5 minutes. I'm still here. In my tenants house they are instructed to run the shower at max for at least 5 minutes if it hasn't been used for 30 days or more. Plastic shower heads will harbour the bugs more than stainless ones.

Theres a lot of hype created over Legionella. Recently the local housing association planned to remove the sprinklers in their houses as they presented a Legionella risk. Yet the droplet size from sprinklers is too large to be inhaled. I wrote a letter to the local paper illustrating that the major risk is fire and smoke and CO, and all the Housing Association were trying to do was to reduce the maintenance costs of their properties without carrying out a costed safety risk assessment. The local Chief Fire Officer agreed and the sprinklers are still installed.
 
Sep 29, 2016
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I am not trying to be controversial in this topic.

Although the risks from Legionella are relatively low, we do rely on providers of hotwarm water to observe precautionary measures, we do not have to take such precautions in our homes as the regulations apply to places of work.

It is not a trivial concern, but is of concern to those with respiratory (not exclusive) problems,.

Regular cleaning of water storage vessels (like otherclive does) is a very worthwhile precaution.

There is an interesting case where, although nobody was affected, a prosecution was finally adjudged against the negligent owner:

https://swarb.co.uk/regina-v-board-of-trustees-of-the-science-museum-ca-26-may-1993/
 
Oct 17, 2010
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Damian-Moderator said:
Quote " does anyone at all know of a single incidence of legionella from caravanning."
No.

I have been camping and caravanning all my life and have never ever been bothered by what temperature the water is, and it has on many occasions been within the "danger" temperatures.

Personally I think too much is made of highly unlikely situations and people feed off fear implanted by others.
If you read any "news" source there is always something that is going to kill you that you eat.

In fact it does not really matter what you do in life as long as you don't deliberately put yourself at risk, but be clear, you ARE going to die.

Maybe it is because I was brought up with natural foods, eggs straight from the chicken, meat from the butcher (my parents ran a meat delivery business, collecting slaughtered animals from the slaughterhouse and delivering to butchers shops, and it was all freash, not frozen and packed in plastic bags).fish straight from the sea etc , in other words we ate dirt quite often !!!

Today everything is so sanitised that people have lost the natural immunites that I have and it has been reported that people have started dying younger now !!!!! Figure that one out !!!

Couldn't agree more Damian.
My Grandparents had a small holding,just a couple of acres. They had pigs, geese , ducks and hens. Granddad showed goats. Milk drank straight from the goats still warm, meat kept in a meat safe outside the back door, its freshness doughtful, dogs and cats everywhere, they were not treated as pets, by todays standards the house was not at all clean, we all survived.

Swift have thought about it, I think, they advise you to run the water heater on the 70deg setting regularly..

.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Slightly off thread, garden BBQ 34 years ago, eldest son 18 month old, crawling around on the grass. Grandad say, " who gave Lee A liquorice stick, turn out to be a slug. He's is still very healthy, and likes slimy asparagus. . Yuck.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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This thread has started to ignite the anti Health & Safety Brigade, which is a shame, because most of us would not be here if H&S had not been applied to some activity we have undertaken at some points in our lives.

The often used excuse, of " I've always done it that way, and it's never hurt me" may be an accurate description of one person's experience, but it is not the universal truth, and it does not excuse exposing other people to whatever hazard is under discussion.

Ignoring sensible hygyne regimes is a silly and potentially dangerous game.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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H&S should be taken sensibly even when some of the notions are ridiculous. A chap lost a hand in a printing press some years ago. He attempted to remove a paper jam without isolating power to the machine. There was a large sign HSE saying isolate power etc. His Counsel in Court said no one had told him to read the notice! Who was the fool??
I spent most summer holidays on my uncle's farm. Collecting all the eggs was a job. They are not clean and had to be weighed and stamped with the little lion logo. We then had egg and bacon butties as we stamped the fresh eggs :sick:
I to have to agree we have become too sanitised which imo leads to more illness than I remember as a child.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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ProfJohnL said:
This thread has started to ignite the anti Health & Safety Brigade, which is a shame, because most of us would not be here if H&S had not been applied to some activity we have undertaken at some points in our lives.

The often used excuse, of " I've always done it that way, and it's never hurt me" may be an accurate description of one person's experience, but it is not the universal truth, and it does not excuse exposing other people to whatever hazard is under discussion.

Ignoring sensible hygyne regimes is a silly and potentially dangerous game.

If people want an informed view of how to assess and control the risk of Legionella I have already advised that they should look at the excellent HSE guidance on the subject. But also they could save their precious time for better things to do as once you have read the HSE guidance then they will quickly realise that the act of worring about Legionella in caravans is likely to present a far higher risk to their well being than the bugs themselves. Let the site owners do their job correctly and get on with enjoying the hobby.
 
Aug 11, 2018
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I was not trying to scare people, however until some thing happens we tend to ignore the risk, it happened where I worked on the building of T5 Heathrow, the water should have been hot enough not to be a problem, however more water than planned was used so it was cooler than planned.

This made me aware of the problem. I think it is unlikely to cause a problem with caravan in normal use, but heating an aquarole to 30 degs is an unnessary risk. Why take unnessary risks?
 

Damian

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In previous posts things like water towers and terminal buildings at airports are cited as places where problems have happened.
How are either scenarios in any way able to be compared to caravanning?????????

For a start the water used inside the van is usually changed at least once, maybe more, per day, so is constantly being flushed and refreshed.

The site amenities are usually very well used and so , again , are being constantly flushed and refreshed.

As I have previously said, there is not one single instance of legionella affecting anyone caravanning, same as there has never been anyone electrocuted in a caravan. Never, ever.since the beginning of the world.

There are far more things for those who want to , to worry about.

Quote " Why take unnessary risks? "
With that kind of thinking one should never cross a road, eat in a restaurant, use public conveniences, use a public phone, get on a bus, get run over by a bus...………………….need I go on??????
 
Sep 5, 2016
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Wrapped in a poncho for six years in a previous life thunder storms, snow, rain and more rain, then wind and sand ,hot sun in the thirties and I never got ill might of been something to do with all the jabs I had , apart from at the end of an ex when the slop jock decided to barbeque some chicken that had been in a Norwegian for twenty four hours, you name it I had it,
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Interesting thread. I suspect a more frequent occurrence from inadequate water hygene will be digestive disorder or 'gippy tummy'
Some are more susceptible than others and even a change of location in UK andc hange of drinking water can often cause such problems.
Roaming fairly widely we tend to use site water only for washing and such, and use bottled mineral water for drinking. For the same reason I am not keen on using water from an on-board tank which also serves the toilet flush for cooking or even washing,and certainly not for diluting my Pernod or making ice for the G&T
In Span, for example, good mineral water is 6 pence/litre so it's just not worth the risk, an desalinated water does not taste too good either
 

Damian

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Quote " and use bottled mineral water for drinking"

I see this comment a lot and cannot understand the logic behind it.

Bottled mineral water in over half the cases comes from, guess what?,,,a TAP

Bottled mineral water costs about 2000 times as much as the same quantity of tap water.

Tap water is regulated and constantly tested for purity, mineral water , by its very nature, cannot be treated, it is raw, having been soaking down through the earth, where in most catchment areas are highly populated by livestock doing their business all over the place.

Plastic bottles are the latest scourge of the planet and a real danger to wildlife and the oceans.
 

Parksy

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Nov 12, 2009
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I've never heard of a case of Legionnaires Disease being associated with touring caravans but we never drink from the caravan water system because there can be other nasties lurking in the system.
Many caravanners will reply to tell us that they drink from their caravan system with no problems but a post some years ago on here put me off
 
May 24, 2014
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Wrapped in a poncho for six years in a previous life thunder storms, snow, rain and more rain, then wind and sand ,hot sun in the thirties and I never got ill might of been something to do with all the jabs I had , apart from at the end of an ex when the slop jock decided to barbeque some chicken that had been in a Norwegian for twenty four hours, you name it I had it,

You too huh? Fond memories of Andy Caps Commandos or the Aldershot Concrete Company. They cooked more edible stuff at Porton Down.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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While I would largely agree with Damian about the quality of tap water fro drinking in UK ( although I often saw traces of oil iridescence on tap water for the 10 year period I lived in North West London, and had completely muddy water on occasion's from NW Water in the Southport area) I am not so convinced about the quality in rural campsites elsewhere in Europe. I have mentioned the taste of desalinated water in SE Spain ( although it's probably fine biologically). I also agree that some bottled mineral water is re-bottled tap water but think this is unlikely from major long established brands. Most European campsites we use have well identified recycle places for plastic bottles and to carbon footprint of glass being shipped to China in generally old ships is not negligable, whereas most plastics are recycled more locally.
So the choice of desalinated v bottled is fairly clear for us.
 
Nov 16, 2015
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Remember Aqua roll have a filter that you put into the aqua roll water but that is supposed to sort oùt the "..slimey" pipes, for our cousins, on seasonal pitches, I have asked on forums if the work , but have never had a response.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Scientists at Porton Down have sampled more than 100 rainwater butts and all contained some form or other of Legionella bacteria. But only two contained the dangerous variety. Test then usingvwatering cans, pumped systems with jet, shower and fine spray were tested to see if the bacteria could be transferred to humans. Don’t use a pumped mist spray which isn’t an effective method of watering. The interesting other conclusion is that more legionella bacteria grew in cool water butts in November than in warmer August temperatures. That contradicts conventional thinking.
Conclusions “keep on gardening” and heat your Aquaroll. (TIC) :)
 

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