16th Oct 2017

What about legionnaires in fire sprinklers?

Legionnaires in fire sprinklers is not a problem, if systems are designed and maintained correctly. The pipe work which is installed (CPVC) is of a food quality standard, negating legionella possibilities. Technical Briefing Note 14 (May 1999), produced by the LPC “Legionella and Fire Fighting Systems” states, “The conditions normally found within fire-fighting systems are not thought able to support the growth of populations of legionella.”


The term Legionellosis covers a group of diseases (which includes legionnaires’ disease, a form of pneumonia) that can be contracted by inhaling water droplets or aerosols containing bacteria from the genus legionella.

There are roughly 175 cases of legionnaires’ disease in England and Wales per year, the mortality rate being about 10-15%. These cases are usually associated with water towers for air conditioning systems.

The operation of fire fighting systems (sprinklers, drenchers and ring mains) may create inhalable water droplets. However, the conditions normally found within fire fighting systems are not thought able to support the growth of populations of legionella.

Annual monitoring of the water tank bacterial concentration by dip slide. Total bacterial concentrations above 100,000 colony-forming units per millilitre (105 cfu/ml) indicate that chemical treatment of the water may be necessary

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