Vancouver’s Legionella program earns award

Friday, October 8, 2021

The City of Vancouver, along with Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH), has received the 2021 Innovation Award for Legionella prevention from the Environmental Operators Certification Program (EOCP). The EOCP is responsible for certifying the thousands of water and wastewater operators across B.C. and the Yukon.

Over the last year in Vancouver, half a dozen instances of high Legionella concentrations in building mechanical systems were detected and immediately remediated. In each instance, VCH was notified and used this information to verify they were not linked to any lab-confirmed illness.

Vancouver’s Water System Operating Permit Program helps protect the public from waterborne health risks like Legionella. With a focus on compliance with safety standards and preventative maintenance and monitoring, these operating permits help health authorities and city staff rapidly identify and respond to incidents of concern. Since the program’s launch, it has gained much support from both building owners and the tourism industry with more than 1,100 systems registered.

Equipment owners are required to complete regular water quality testing and reporting, and obtain a water systems operating permit for the following systems: cooling towers; decorative water features; rainwater harvesting and other alternative water systems; and building water treatment systems.

Recognized by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network as a leader in Legionella prevention, the city has been contacted by jurisdictions across North America for guidance on responding to and preventing outbreaks.

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