Legionella Pneumophila Testing

ISTC’s Institutional Water Treatment (IWT) program is offering a new service to test water sources for Legionella pneumophila, the bacterium that causes Legionnaires’ disease.

Legionnaire’s disease is a serious type of pneumonia (lung infection) caused by Legionella bacteria. Legionnaires’ disease is caused by inhaling water mist containing the Legionella bacteria. The bacterium can grow in purpose-built water systems, such as showerheads and sink faucets, cooling towers, spa pools, evaporative condensers, and large plumbing systems.1  Find more information about Legionella here.

IWT is offering a logical approach to test water-using systems, including:

  • Cooling towers
  • Chillers
  • Showers
  • Therapy pools
  • Spas (hot tubs)
  • Fountains
  • and more!

New laboratory testing facilities at the University of Illinois have been equipped specifically to handle water samples to be tested for Legionella.

The Institutional Water Treatment program is one of only seven laboratories within Illinois (as of October 2021) that is CDC ELITE Certified for Legionella testing. The CDC Environmental Legionella Isolation Techniques Evaluation (ELITE) program allows laboratories to demonstrate their proficiency in successfully identifying Legionella in water samples. Learn more at https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Elite/Public/EliteHome.aspx.

Why conduct this pre-screen?

This pre-screen can save users money and time. The testing provides an initial indication of whether or not the bacterium is present. If the test is negative, there is no need to conduct further testing, thus saving money. Alternatively, this is a lower cost indication of whether further testing is needed as opposed to full periodic system testing.

For additional information, please contact:

Don Kueneke
217/333-3659

Additional Resources


1 – https://www.hse.gov.uk/legionnaires/what-is.htm