Is there Legionella lurking in your garden water butt?

Suzanne Clarkson-Lewis

Suzanne Clarkson-Lewis
Marketing Manager, Assurity Consulting
16th July 2018

The Porton Down investigation in water held in water butts was prompted by fatalities such as that of Stephen Clements, 63, a grandfather from Cromer Norfolk, who died in February 2017 after inhaling droplets whilst cleaning his patio with a hose and a broom. The scientists collected water samples from 113 water butts and found Legionella bacteria in 107 of them. They then installed experimental butts at Porton Down, using submerged pumps to produce jets and sprays from the infected water. They found that watering cans and low-pressure sprays release few bacteria into the air but if turned into a fine spray the numbers of microbes floating in the air at head height surged, with up to 23,000 legionella bacteria per cubic metre of air.

There is some sensible advice from the RHS to consider some of the risks within your garden – worth a review from time to time.