GSA Legionella Testing in Federal Buildings

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is requiring testing for Legionella (the bacteria that causes Legionnaires disease) and other water tests in many federal buildings.

GSA requires that preference be given to qualified professionals including those that hold either an ASSE 12080 certification or a health and safety professional working under the supervision of an ASSE 12080 certified individual, and Legionella Control Systems meets this important criteria. Legionella Control Systems can help you find the most efficient way to conduct the testing in your building. Call us at 888-416-8626 for immediate assistance or email us at

In a recent GSA blog, GSA discussed how the it approaches water testing and remediation in the federal buildings it oversees. Here are a few key points:

  • GSA describes a water management program as being part of properly maintaining and testing a building’s water system which supports building managers’ efforts to reduce the presence of heavy metals as well as conditions in which Legionella and other bacteria can grow.
  • GSA believes that Legionella testing helps ensure that the water management program is working. They note that Even buildings that do a good job managing their water might detect Legionella.
  • GSA is requiring testing for Legionella as well as things like heavy metals, total Coliform and
    E. Coli across many buildings.
  • Legionella testing experts tell GSA that about half of the water samples they take come back positive for Legionella because it naturally occurs in water.
  • The CDC says that the goal of water management is to ensure that it’s well controlled, according to GSA. So, if a test result indicates that a system isn’t well controlled, GSA will take actions based on CDC guidance as well as that of industry groups like ASHRAE and the American Industrial Hygiene Association.
  • Practically speaking, that means GSA will do things like restrict access to fixtures, notify tenants with signage, flush the system, and make other adjustments to the system operations. Retesting is usually necessary as well as taking extra steps, such as providing bottled water for tenants.
  • GSA is keeping tenants informed when we make modifications if results indicate Legionella growth is not well controlled and sharing testing results with tenants.
  • Since Legionella is naturally present in drinking water, GSA believes that more water testing overall will typically lead to more tests showing some areas where Legionella growth is not well controlled. By uncovering that information, it allows landlords like GSA to take action and make operational changes.

If you have questions about Legionella testing, Legionella risk assessments, and water management programs such as those utilized by GSA, contact Legionella Control Systems. Our ASSE/IAPMO/ANSI 12080 Certified Legionella Water Safety and Management Specialists will be happy to discuss the Legionella control plan that will work best for your facility.