Expert: Portugal’s new anti-Legionella regime fits with EU tap water rules

An article posted by goes into detail about a new tap system developed in Portugal that is supposed to effectively prevent the production and spread of Legionnaires disease.

The new Portuguese framework for the prevention and control of Legionnaires’ diseases is compatible with the flexibility allowed under the European Union’s overhauled tap water rules, a Portuguese health expert has told

Ricardo Santos, head of the water microbiology laboratory at Lisbon University’s Instituto Superior Técnico praised the EU’s revision of the Drinking Water Directive (DWD) that updates parameters of water quality set more than 20 years ago.

“It is important that the new directive starts to take into account other pathogenic organisms as, up to now, the only microbial indicator in tap water is for E. coli,” he said.

Among the updated parameters, European lawmakers decided to extend Legionella bacteria monitoring to every potable water system in the EU as part of a new risk assessment analysis.

In August, the Portuguese parliament passed a law dealing specifically with the prevention and control of the notorious bacterium.

According to Santos, this new regime of Portugal’s is quite flexible, allowing different methods and considering different layers of risk, as it puts a bigger emphasis on Legionella pneumophila, which can cause a deadly form of pneumonia.

While the new national framework on Legionnaires’ diseases falls within the competence of the health ministry, the implementation of the DWD in the Portuguese legislation will be the responsibility of different governmental agencies linked to the environmental ministry.

However, the health expert does not see room for overlapping. “I think there are good interactions between different agencies and the DWD will be aligned with the new decree,” he said.

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