Scaling UP! H2O

203 The One With Our Across The Pond Legionella Expert, John Sandford

One of my favorite things about this podcast is that it has allowed me to meet fantastic people. Today’s guest I met at The Hang a few months ago, and we instantly hit it off. His name is John Sandford and even though he lives 15 miles east of Oxford, and I live outside of Atlanta, our passion for water treatment has made us lifelong friends. 

ASHRAE 188, HSE Code, AWT, Legionella, Legionnaires Disease, Bacteria, UKAS Accreditation, Approved Code Of Practice, Cooling Towers, Domestic Hot And Cold Systems, Arterary Systems, Guidance on Health Care, Health And Safety, OSHA, Section 40, HSG274, Biocide, Super Bugs, CDC, Public Health, Risk Assessment, COVID, Amine, Distribution Ratio, Legionella Awareness Month,He has a wealth of experience and a genuine passion for improving the standards of the industry he works in. John is going to give you some insight into how our colleagues across the pond test and treat Legionella bacteria and what their government requires of them.  

To give you some background, John Sandford CMIOSH is the Director of Water Hygiene Specialists at SMS Environmental. He has four offices across the U.K., and over 140 employees, over 30 years of practical and research experience in the field of water treatment and Legionella and has expertise in the application of Health and Safety in this area.  

John is on the council of the Water Management Society (WMSoc), one of the founders and Health and Safety Director at SMS Environmental, and he is a UKAS accredited Legionella Risk Assessment provider which is and a national supplier of water hygiene services to over 1000 organizations across the U.K.  

As many of you know, the U.S. is one of the slowest countries to create legislation around Legionella testing and mitigation. It’s only a matter of time for those changes to be written; just ask any water treater living in New York. I would encourage all my listeners to be proactive by learning what other countries are doing in the field that they work in.  


Bottom line: Nation, when you are aware of what other countries are doing, you can prepare for the unknowns before your local government takes steps towards any new Legionella legislation. 

Your roadside friend, as you travel from client to client.




Introducing business owner and water hygiene professional, John Sandford [5:50] 

Water certifications in the U.K. [14:10] 

Understanding Legionella mitigations and regulations in the U.S.A. vs. U.K. [21:40] 

What happens in the U.K. when the government finds a breach of health and safety? [28:50] 

John’s advice on new construction, taking on a new build [39:15] 

Global commonality Legionella guidance [44:45] 

Lightning round questions [54:40] 

James’ Challenge: “Research neutralizing amine distribution ratio.”  [1:07:00] 



“What a great industry we’ve got!” – John Sandford 

“Then I knew absolutely everything. I was an expert in everything. And then 30 years down the line, I realized I don’t know anything at all.”  – John Sandford 

“80% of our work is Legionella related.”  – John Sandford 

“It’s funny, we use British thermal units in the U.S.A., but in the U.K., you use metric units.” – Trace Blackmore 

“Your biggest risk in the U.K. now isn’t from Legionnaires Disease, it’s from risk of being prosecuted for not complying with the guidance and approved code of practice that surround Legionella.” – John Sandford 

 “New builds are a problem. I strongly believe you should be doing a water safety plan or water management plan before you’ve even broken ground.” – John Sandford 

“No matter how good that company is, a good disinfection is not going to cure 18 months of mismanagement.”  – John Sandford 

“My advice is if you are taking on any new builds, make sure you know what the state of play is.” – John Sandford 

“Plumbing is a skill.” – John Sandford 

You need to manage your systems during the construction phase.” – John Sandford 

“Don’t worry about it, learn about it.” – Trace Blackmore 


Connecting with John Sandford of SMS Environmental Ltd.:

Phone: 07764534984


Links Mentioned: 

101 The One with Colin Frayne, CWT

102 The Other One with Colin Frayne, CWT

009 The L Word

150 The One Where We Talk Legionella Basics

151 The One Where We Talk About Legionella

152 The One Where We Talk More About Legionella

153 The One Where We Answer Your Questions About Legionella

The Rising Tide Mastermind 

Submit a Show Idea 

AWT (Association of Water Technologies) 


Books Mentioned: 

Anansi Boys – Neil Gaiman 

The Blade Artist – Irvine Welsh 


Articles mentioned: 


The Stafford outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease 

 The control of legionella bacteria in water systems Approved Code of Practice and guidance L8 

Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 

Architect cleared of manslaughter over legionnaires’ outbreak 

Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 

Reading Borough Council sentenced after legionella death 

Fee for intervention (FFI) 

UKAS Delivering Confidence in the Provision of Legionella Risk Assessments 

30-day all-cause fatality subsequent to MRSA, MSSA and Gram-negative bacteraemia and C. difficile infections, 2017/18 (see page 17) 

Safe water in healthcare premises (HTM 04-01) 

BBC (2012) Sink taps source of infection that killed three babies 



Water Treatment education

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