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Legionella & New Reporting Laws

The Public Health Act 2005 was recently amended to establish a legislative framework to improve the management and control of health risks associated with the supply and use of water in hospitals and residential aged care facilities (in particular health risks associated with Legionella bacteria) and provide for greater public transparency of water testing activities being undertaken by these facilities.

It is expected that all prescribed facilities in the Public Health (Water Risk Management) Amendment Act 2016 will need to comply with the new requirements commencing from February 2017.

Who does the legislation affect?

All prescribed facilities in the Public Health (Water Risk Management) Amendment Act 2016.

  • A public sector hospital that provides treatment or care to inpatients
  • A private health facility licensed under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999
  • A state aged care facility
  • A residential aged care facility, other than a State age care facility prescribed by regulation.

What are the requirements for the facilities?

  • The development of a Water Risk Management Plan that covers off on all water-related hazards and hazardous events including Legionella for their facility.
  • Ensure the Water Risk Management plan is complied with
  • Notify the chief executive or the Department of Health, within one business day, when Legionella is detected in water used by the prescribed facility
  • Submit periodic reports summarising the results of water testing for Legionella for a prescribed facility.

What is a Water Risk Management Plan for Legionella?

  • A Water Risk Management Plan is a written plan to prevent or minimise the risks posed by hazards, hazard sources or hazardous events to individuals at the prescribed facility.

How do I develop a Water Risk Management Plan?

  • Should a hospital, private health facility or residential aged care facility, or indeed any Legionella contractors, have any queries regarding the development of a Water Risk Management Plan for Legionella, they can contact Qld Health via the following email address: legionella@health.qld.gov.au. The water unit team will be able to respond to any queries.

When must Water Risk Management Plans be completed by?

From 1 February 2017

  • Public hospitals that provide treatment or care to inpatients
  • Qld Health operated residential aged care facilities
  • Private health facilities, including private hospitals, licensed under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999

From 2018 (exact date to be determined)

  • A residential aged care facility, other than a state age care facility.

Please also note that Private Residential Aged-Care Facilities are NOT captured by the requirements of the Public Health Act changes, with respect to Legionella, which commence on 1 Feb 2017. Department of Health will be undertaking a thorough consultation process with the Private residential-aged care sector during 2017

Is Logan's water supply safe to drink?

Yes, Logan’s water supply is safe to drink and will continue to meet the high standards of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Facts about Logan's drinking water

  • Water services providers, such as Logan, have to follow & meet the stringent Australian Drinking Water Guidelines (ADWG) & public health guidelines for drinking water monitoring and testing.
  • Logan undertakes extensive weekly routine monitoring throughout its drinking water network.
  • The guidelines for water service providers do not include legionella hence Logan does not test for this however does test regularly for E.coli. E.coli is the primary recognised indicator for water contamination.
  • Any drinking water “health breaches” must be reported to the regulator immediately and appropriate actions are undertaken to ensure safety of the water supply, such as “boil water notices” and keep the community informed and safe. If this does occur Logan works closely with the Regulator, QLD Health and keeps the community updated.

Additional information

Contact Queensland Health: