Scaling UP! H2O

009 The L Word

Today’s show is something that most of us misunderstand, we don’t know how to talk to our customers about it, and we simply do not know what the right information is and where to go find it. We are talking about the L word today; Legionella. We are going to get to the bottom of what Legionella is, what we need to know about it, how we explain it to our customers, and how we get everybody working together towards a common goal.

We welcome Dr. Janet E. Stout, she is the president and director of Special Pathogens Laboratory, and research associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

A clinical and environmental microbiologist, Dr. Stout is recognized worldwide for more than 30 years of pioneering research in Legionella. Her expertise includes disinfection and control strategies for the prevention of Legionnaires’ disease and other waterborne pathogens. She is credited as the first to demonstrate the link between Legionnaires’ disease and the presence of Legionella in hospital water systems.



Janet shares with us about who she is and what she does [05:08]

Learn how Legionella cannot be treated by all kinds of antibiotics, only certain selected ones [08:20]

Find out what the signs and symptoms are of Legionnaires disease [09:10]

Understand what a water treater can do to prevent Legionella [11:20]

Learn what building owners need to understand about cooling towers and utility water systems and the questions we need to be asking these owners [13:28]

Hear how New York is the first to have a law that requires building owners to adhere to specific requirements [16:49]

Janet tells us where to get information on the guidelines and standards for Legionella [19:00]

Find out what the Ashrae 188 document is all about, and how it is used [19:21]

Hear how there is a lot of freedom in the standard 188 for you to make decisions [24:16]

Understand why Ashrae 188 in New York only deals with the water in cooling towers [28:15]

Learn more about the Centre for Medical and Medicaid Services Document on Ashrae 188 [34:41]

Find out why you need to test for Legionella and what systems you should be testing [36:49]

Hear how only about 30-50% of cooling towers are positive for Legionella [40:52]

Janet tells us what to do if your test for Legionella in the water comes back positive [42:59]

Learn how decisions made need to be evidence-based [48:58]

Understand the procedure on the collection part of the Legionella test [49:40]

Learn about the ELITE program developed by the CDC [52:45]

Hear what’s an acceptable free chlorine and what to test for when you’re testing chlorine [65:26]

Find out why you need to take negligence off the table [70:05]

Janet tells us what she sees around the topic of Legionella that needs to stop [72:14]



“The symptoms of legionnaires disease is no different than the symptoms of other forms of pneumonia.” – Dr. Janet E. Stout

“I always try to have a little lawyer on my shoulder when I am advising our clients on Legionella management.” -Dr. Janet E. Stout


Connect with Dr. Janet E. Stout:


Twitter: @specialpathogen



Links Mentioned:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC 

US Environmental Protection Agency


CDC Legionella Toolkit

CDC Vital Signs

CDC: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

CMS Update Memorandum

New CDC Vital Signs Report on Legionnaires’ Disease: What You Need to Know

Special Pathogens Laboratory Resources


Water Treatment education

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