I am involved with a volunteer group who wish to place a small bubble fountain in an external patient “sensory garden” at a local hospital. The fountain will not be connected directly to any water supply and will recirculate the water it uses. Some members of hospital maintenance staff have cited risk from Legionella as a reason to oppose the fountain. Would you consider the risk significant given that the fountain is outside and not connected directly to the potable water supply?
We believe that the risk for Legionella infection in your situation is small. And, many of the outbreaks linked to fountains may have been incorrect; nevertheless, given the undue publicity of Legionnaires’ disease and fountains, we believe it would be prudent to avoid this issue altogether. So, for hospitals, we discourage the placement of fountains. The fact that the water is recirculating rather than coming from the potable water supply does not mean that Legionella will be absent or even have a lower likelihood of being colonized with Legionella.