Newry's Bluezone Technologies invests over £685k in sensor technology to combat Legionella outbreaks

  • Newry-based built environment software firm Bluezone Technologies has launched its latest innovations, to facilitate round the clock monitoring and control of Legionella and waterborne bacteria.

    Legionella is a type of bacterium found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It is rare for people to become infected from natural water systems, and outbreaks usually occur when it grows and spreads in human-made building water system like showerheads and sink taps, hot tubs, large plumbing systems and cooling towers.

    Legionnaires’ disease is a severe pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacterium. People become infected when they inhale aerosols from a contaminated source.

    Representing an investment of over £685,000, the ‘no touch’ Legionella management system – including BluezoneTemp and BluezoneFlo - incorporates sensor technology to remotely monitor water temperatures.

    It then provides real time intelligent analysis to the devices of those responsible for their occupants’ health and wellbeing through Bluezone24, the company’s Internet of Things (IoT) platform, all without human interaction.

    Bluezone24 includes an existing legionella management module with mobile application and utilises IoT sensor tech to remotely monitor environmental comfort such as humidity, carbon dioxide and asset tracking.

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    Bluezone director and industrial microbiologist, Pat McDonald commented: “Legionella control and monitoring is still largely focused on paper-based procedures, however the appetite for an easy to install sensor alongside a user-friendly platform with quick reporting dashboards was clear.

    “By rolling-out Bluezone24 across their facilities, forward-looking companies are leveraging a proven, purpose-built Legionella management solution to ensure their compliance and achieve a measurable return on investment. More and more companies are being driven by data, including the industries we come from.


    Legionella outbreaks usually occur when it grows and spreads in human-made building water system like showerheads and sink taps

    "BluezoneTemp and BluezoneFlo can be installed in new builds and retrofitted with minimal intrusion and without any required access to buildings’ IT data networks, and those who are responsible for environmental or Legionella in their building will now have a wealth of data – delivered right to their mobile phones if needed – to support or guide their decision making.”

    The latest releases coincide with recent concerns from the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) over a potential increase in Legionnaires’ Disease, an illness caused by the growth of Legionella bacteria in water systems not adequately managed.

    BluezoneTemp operates on the basis that managing Legionella risks is best achieved through monitoring and controlling the temperature in water, the company said.

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    During the Covid-19 pandemic many buildings were closed or largely unused for an extended period of time allowing water systems to become stagnated. Stagnated water is a potential breeding ground for Legionella and is prevented by running water outlets in a process known as flushing. Bluezone Tech said its BluezoneFlo automates this process.

    CEO Adrian Byrne said, “At a minimum, BluezoneTemp captures daily temperatures and transmits the data via the world’s largest IoT network to the cloud hosted Bluezone24 platform.

    "It is here the true intelligence and efficiencies of the platform are seen. Property and facilities managers can clearly see out of range temperatures and can plan any remedial work they may need to carry out. Coincidentally, they can do this through other add-on modules in the same platform including assigning contractors to a task.

    “We were already in the latter stages of R&D with an automatic flushing unit in early 2020, but following the coronavirus outbreak, the need for such a device, and the technology to support it, accelerated.

    "The BluezoneFlo device complements its temperature-taking counterpart by automatically flushing an outlet and reporting back to the platform, creating true autonomy. Vitally, the platform records these events in digital form with a complete asset history, and perhaps more importantly during these times, there is no physical visit required to that asset or site.”

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    Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not get sick. People at increased risk of getting sick are those over 50 years of age, smokers, those with chronic lung disease or other underlying conditions.

    There is no link between Legionella and coronavirus. Recent news articles are concerning people returning to facilities and buildings that have been left unmonitored or unmaintained for Legionella and waterborne bacteria.

    For more information on Legionella management using Bluezone24 visit www.bluezone24.com.

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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