Scaling UP! H2O

370 Unlocking Legionella Solutions: Perspectives on Regulations and Best Practices

“Be curious, maintain an open mind, and maintain your high standards.” – Lee Bainbrigge

Our water treatment community is a close-knit brotherhood and sisterhood, regardless of where we live. We face similar challenges and share a common goal: to grow and learn from each other. Our latest podcast episode features a conversation that delves into the differences and similarities in Legionella control practices and regulations between the United States and the United Kingdom. This insightful episode features Lee Bainbrigge, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of SMS Environmental Ltd as our charming lab partner. 


Key Insights from Lee Bainbrigge on Legionella Control:

Differences in Legionella Management and Documentation
In both countries, the primary Legionella control methods are keeping water moving and using temperature control. However, the UK places a stronger emphasis on documentation and compliance systems to record control measures. “The types of control you are using, you need to record it, you need to write it down in a compliance system,” Lee explained. If a system tests positive for Legionella, it is crucial to effectively and clearly communicate to the client, “There’s Legionella in the system. Let’s look at doing something about it.” In the UK, these communications are meticulously documented and kept as digital records for future reference.

Crafting Effective Legionella Legislation
When discussing what lawmakers should consider when writing Legionella legislation, Lee advised caution and balance. He noted that the guidance in the USA is relatively proportionate and effective when in the right hands. “Effectively, the guidance you’ve got in the USA is relatively proportionate… In the right hands, you’re going to do a good job with the guidance that you’ve got,” he noted. In contrast, the UK’s approach can sometimes be overly prescriptive. Lee suggests a middle ground, advocating for guidance that is neither too relaxed nor too stringent, ensuring efforts and resources truly reduce risk. “I think the most reasonable guidance you could come up with is somewhere in between the two. There are pros and cons on both sides,” Lee mentioned.

ASHRAE 188 and Its Direction in the USA
Lee affirmed that the USA is on the right track with ASHRAE 188 for Legionella control. “Yes, absolutely!” he responded when asked if the US is heading in the right direction. He highlighted the importance of competent professionals conducting Legionella risk assessments to ensure effective control measures. “Make sure that the people that are carrying out your Legionella risk assessment are competent and you’re actually getting good advice at the beginning of your control scheme,” he advised.

Challenges and Technology Opportunities in the UK
In the UK, current challenges include maintaining competency and training within the industry, adapting to novel systems like heat pumps, and dealing with reduced water flow in buildings. Lee mentioned the potential of new technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and remote monitoring, which could revolutionize Legionella control, although current guidance has yet to fully incorporate these advancements. “We have got challenges with… new novel systems coming into our domestic hot and cold water systems. The use of heat pumps and different ways of sourcing energy and reducing water flow are all having an impact on Legionella control,” Lee explained.

Building a Global Culture of Learning
Lee is a strong advocate for collaboration within the industry. He believes in learning from each other and sharing best practices, which can greatly benefit organizations and improve public health protection. “I’m a big believer of us being collaborative in this industry,” Lee shared. “When we see what somebody else is doing and establish what’s working for organizations, that is just so great to see.”

Professional Standards and Certifications
Lee discussed the significance of the Certified Water Technologist (CWT) certification. SMS Environmental Ltd. values high standards and depth of knowledge within its team, which is why they are strong proponents of the CWT certification. “We don’t have in the UK an equivalent qualification specific to water treatment,” Lee explained. “We’ve certainly looked at the CWT and gone, ‘this does really what people that have been involved in the organization in the industry far longer than me tell me was very much the way the sector was born.'”

Advice for Water Professionals
Lee’s best advice to water professionals is to “Be curious, maintain an open mind, and maintain your high standards.” This approach has helped SMS Environmental Ltd. build strong, honest relationships with their customers and maintain their status as a leading independent company in the industry.

Tune In to Scale UP Your Legionella Knowledge
We encourage you to listen to the full interview with Lee Bainbrigge on the Scaling UP! H2O podcast. You’ll gain deeper insights into Legionella control practices and regulatory approaches in the USA and the UK, learn about new technologies and challenges, and hear expert advice for water professionals.

Stay curious, keep an open mind, and always strive for excellence.


Connect with Lee Bainbrigge




Read or Download Lee Bainbrigge’s Press Release HERE


Links Mentioned

The Hang July 11, 2024, free networking event for water professionals 

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

Scaling UP! H2O’s Legionella Resources Page

The Water Management Society (WMSoc)

Legionella Control Association

Certified Water Technologist (CWT) certificate Video Prep Course

UKAS Legionella Risk Assessment and ISO/IEC 17020

The Rising Tide Mastermind

Scaling UP! H2O Academy video courses

Submit a Show Idea

AWT (Association of Water Technologies)


Books Mentioned

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Paddle Your Own Canoe by Nick Offerman


Drop By Drop with James 

In today’s segment, I’m thinking about your family and friends. You head off to work to save the world with your industrial water treatment skills each day. Do your family and friends have any idea what you do? Have you ever shown them your test kit? Have you ever tested water in front of them? Have you ever shown them your service reports? Have you ever shared the types of customers you have? Have you ever described the operations and processes you get to see? You may be an industrial water treatment superhero, but you don’t have to have a secret identity, too. Let the world around you know what you do. 


2024 Events for Water Professionals

Check out our Scaling UP! H2O Events Calendar where we’ve listed every event Water Treaters should be aware of by clicking HERE.


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