Legionnaires Disease from RV Hot Water System? - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-17-2013, 02:41 PM   #1
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Legionnaires Disease from RV Hot Water System?

Read an interesting article on risks of becoming infected with Legionnaires Disease bacteria from the hot water system in your travel trailer. Here is an abstract of the article:

Quote:
We investigated recreational vehicle (RV) water reservoirs in response to a case of pneumonia in which Legionella pneumophila was cultured both from the patient and a RV reservoir in which he travelled. Water samples processed and cultured at the CDC according to standard protocol were positive for Legionella spp. in 4/17 (24%) faucets, 1/11 (9%) water tanks from 4/20 (20%) RVs from three different campsites. Legionella spp. that were isolated included L. pneumophila (serogroups 1 and 6), L. anisa, L. feeleii, and L. quateriensis. Environmental controls from the potable water of the three campsites were culture-negative. A survey of maintenance practices by the RV users at the campsites revealed that chlorine disinfection of the water tanks was rarely performed. To prevent the possibility of Legionella infections, RV owners should implement regular chlorine disinfection of their water tanks and follow the recommended maintenance guidelines according to their owner's manuals.
The main article is located at: Recreational Vehicle Water Tanks as a Possible Source for Legionella Infections

Not sure what to make of this. Any of you aware of this or have opinions on it? Seems to me it would be a good practice to start flushing the system regularly with chlorine bleach..
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:47 PM   #2
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Bleach rots rubber so be sure to dilute!
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Old 12-17-2013, 03:54 PM   #3
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Here is a table from Government of British Columbia site:
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #4
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I take it the table is to purify water as opposed to sanitize a water tank. I use more on the order of a 1/2 cup for my 20 US Gal tank.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:30 PM   #5
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You are correct.
I follow the table for my emergency water supply ( five 5 gal. containers. ).
Using a half cup, you want to flush thoroughly. Doesn't take long for the chlorine smell to dissipate.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:35 PM   #6
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Question here though. How does one get the concentrated bleach solution into the hot water tank? Do you fill the fresh water ( with bleach added ) and then run the pump with a hot water tap open?
I guess I would just use the siphon I have for pumping anti-freeze through the city water inlet.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:05 PM   #7
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The hot water tank should be of sufficient temperature to kill the bacteria, I would imagine. Probably worth checking on that, however.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by santacruzer View Post
The hot water tank should be of sufficient temperature to kill the bacteria, I would imagine. Probably worth checking on that, however.
It seems that the issue is more related to potential for growth of bacteria over the time periods when your hot water tank is not operating. I know that I have been guilty of coming back from a trip and leaving water in the hot water tank rather than draining it, because I know I am going to be going out again soon. I don't know if there is a lesser risk if the tank is drained between trips or not. Possibly you may want to do a quick flush with diluted bleach if your trailer has been sitting unused for periods greater than a couple of weeks?
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:56 PM   #9
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In reading the article in it entirety, it just mentions RV water storage tanks, which I presume is inclusive of both the main tank, and the hot water tank. It didn't mention whether the polluted samples came from the cold side or the hot side.

We drain our main tank after each trip, and sanitize the tank before refilling. If I fill from anywhere other than home I always disinfect the new water. Who knows who's been handling that campground faucet? I've never thought to drain the hot water tank, however, on the premise I noted above, that the heat is killing anything I might have missed.
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Old 12-17-2013, 05:59 PM   #10
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And then, of course, the water out of my tap at home is chlorinated, and that's mostly what's in my tanks at any given time.
And, I'm not a member of the Legion in any case.

baglo
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