Legionella Bacteria Sampling & Risk Minimization Codified into Illinois’ Registry of Rules
By Hilary Nardone, Environmental Group Training Manager
Certified ASSE 12080 Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialist
In the most recent weekly update to Illinois’ Registry of Rules of Governmental Agencies, the state codified language which will require Long-Term Care facilities to adopt a Legionella bacteria testing policy and to implement a Water Management Program.
The new code is Section 300.700 Testing for Legionella Bacteria, an added section to the previously published Title 77: Public Health; Chapter 1: Department of Public Health; Subchapter c: Long-Term Care Facilities; Part 300: Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facilities Code. The code will require the following for nursing home facilities in the state of Illinois:
Two Requirements of Part 300: Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facilities Code, Section 300.700: Testing for Legionella Bacteria:
- A facility shall develop a policy for testing its water supply for Legionella bacteria. The policy shall include the frequency with which testing is conducted. The policy and the results of any tests and corrective actions shall be made available to the Department of Health upon request.
- The policy shall be based on the ASHRAE Guideline “Managing the Risk of Legionellosis Associated with Building Water Systems” and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Toolkit for Controlling Legionella in Common Sources of Exposure.” The policy shall include, at a minimum:
- A procedure to conduct a facility risk assessment to identify potential Legionella and other waterborne pathogens in the facility water system;
- A Water Management Program (WMP) that identifies specific testing protocols and acceptable ranges for control measures; and
- A system to document the results of testing and corrective actions taken.
Section 300.700 became effective on June 2, 2022 and is the result of Public Act 102:0004, which amended the Nursing Home Care Act by requiring a Legionella bacteria testing policy. This same requirement was also codified under Part 330: Sheltered Care Facilities, and Part 340: Illinois Veterans’ Home Code.
While these requirements are now codified in the Illinois registry, it’s important to note that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)-funded and Joint Commission-accredited nursing homes were already required to implement a WMP. CMS and the Joint Commission requirements, which went into effect in 2017 and 2022, respectfully, did not, however, require Long Term Care facilities to sample for Legionella bacteria as is now mandated in the Illinois Administrative Code.
Of related interest in Illinois, Public Act 102-0960 was recently signed into law on May 27, 2022, and is effective immediately. It amends the Environmental Protection Act by adding Section 19.11. This section requires public water supply operators to notify senior living and healthcare facilities of water supply disruptions that could lead to water quality and microbial risks, such as Legionella bacteria and other pathogens. They must tell facilities at least 30 days before any known, planned, or anticipated disruption event and within one hour after learning of an unplanned disruption event.
Barclay Water Management, Inc. has created, implemented, and validated hundreds of WMPs. In partnership with our Customers, Barclay is dedicated to ensuring its WMPs comply with national and local standards and guidelines including ASHRAE Standard 188, CDC, Department of Veteran Affairs, and local Health Departments.
Contact us today to learn how Barclay can help implement a Water Management Program and Legionella bacteria sampling policy at your facility.