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Title Legionella Sampling Guide


1. Personal safety and precautions should be observed during sampling. Avoid breathing aerosols that may be contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Avoid generating aerosols or water mists during sampling of the water system. Turn off the cooling tower fan during sampling, or wear a respirator equipped with a HEPA cartridge.

2. Prepare or obtain sterile, screw-capped plastic bottles for sampling. Obtain an

extra bottle as a field blank. Sodium thiosulfate is routinely added to the bottle as

a preservative and halogen (chlorine)-neutralizing agent. A 1 liter water sample

is recommended for potable water sampling and 250 ml for non-potable

water sampling.


3. For drinking or potable water, such as water fountains, faucets, and shower

heads, collect two samples if possible. Collect the "pre-flush or first draw"

sample by draining the first 1000 ml of water from the faucets or flush drains into

a bottle. Allow the water to run for approximately 60 seconds (or longer) and

collect the second draw of 1000 ml of water. Leave a one-inch space on top of

the water sample. The second sample is also called "post-flush or second draw"



4. When sampling faucet aerators and showerheads, swabs of faucet aerators and

inside the faucet and shower heads should be taken. When sampling cooling

towers, whirlpool spas or fountains, look for areas of biofilm and take a swab

sample of the biofilm. We will provide sterile swabs for this purpose.


5. For non-drinking or non-potable samples from such sources as cooling towers,

chillers, condensate pans, surface water in reservoirs, sprinklers, etc., collect 250

ml water from the bottom or side of the vessel or reservoir. If taking a cooling

tower sample, also consider taking a sample in the pack column. Leave a oneinch

space on top of the sample. Record any biocide used in water treatment

when collecting non-drinking water. If sampling whirlpool spas, consider

taking a swab sample of any biofilm as well as a sample of the sand filter.


6. Label sample number on the bottle and record on the sample data sheet. Use a

distinctive number for each sample. Complete all sample information on a

sample data sheet for your own record. Send a copy with the samples to the



7. Tightly cap the bottles. Make sure that water does not leak during shipping and

transporting. Taping of bottle around the cap and neck with electric vinyl tape is

recommended. Place taped bottles in a clean plastic bag.


Place the samples in insulated boxes or on freezer packs to protect specimens from extreme temperature fluctuations in the summer months. NEVER USE ICE OR DRY ICE.  Stuff the box with foam chips to cushion, and seal the box securely for shipping.  Send samples by overnight express carrier. Schedule sampling between Monday and Friday so that samples can be delivered to the laboratory no later than Saturday. Take holidays into consideration.


Please address the mailer as follows for Saturday delivery (use our normal address as listed above for Monday thru Friday delivery):


EMSL Analytical Inc.

75 Haag Avenue

Bellmawr, NJ 08031


Saturday Delivery



EMSL provides:

· Free in-bound shipping to the lab from anywhere in the continental US with

$100 order

· Free sterile, preserved bottles and swabs

· Legionella analysis (4 species) with a 2 day turnaround by PCR (M162)

· Identificaton and Enumeration of Legionella- 8 species plus serotyping of

L. pneumophila (M212)

· Identification and Enumeration of L. pneumophila serotypes 1-14 (M211)

· Presumptive Enumeration of Legionella species (M210)

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