Building Water Health

NSF’s building water health program provides auditing, training, risk assessments and water safety plan development for building owners and managers concerned about water safety.

To evaluate building water systems, and the impact on human health, we are taking action in many ways to address water safety throughout the entire building water system with the aim of preventing waterborne diseases, like Legionella, and injury while promoting public health and safety.


Our building water health program can help you maintain your buildings more safely and effectively through our comprehensive auditing service. Our personalized training and education services ensure your staff is fully trained to put in place a water management plan that will be audited by NSF.

What is included in building water health?

  • Premise plumbing
  • Pool and spa systems
  • Decorative fountains
  • Cooling tower water systems and evaporative condensers
  • Ice machines and humidifiers
  • On-site water storage
  • Health care considerations

What are the benefits of our independent auditing program?

  • Reduces the risk of Legionella for people in the environment around the building
  • Reduces liability in litigation cases
  • Bases staff performance on current best practices
  • Improves maintenance which extends equipment life
  • Improves staff training and education


Microorganisms can enter building water plumbing systems and, over time, amplify to large numbers. Upon release into the environment and inhalation by potentially susceptible individuals, they can cause serious illness, injury or death. These pathogenic microorganisms include Acanthamoeba, Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), Pseudomonas and Legionella. Legionella pneumophila is responsible for Legionnaires’ disease, which results in approximately 4,000 deaths every year.

The adaptation of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) methodologies in the development of water safety plans has proven effective for ensuring public health and safety in building water systems by preventing illness, injury and death. Such programs have proven effective and practical for controlling the growth and dispersal of clinically significant pathogens, as well as physical and chemical hazards in building water systems. Hazard analysis and management plans are increasingly being used by major health care providers, prominent educational institutions and commercial/industrial property owners to protect public health.

NSF holds training on the application of these principles in the development and implementation of building water safety management programs. By following the principles, you learn to identify specific, potentially hazardous agents and specify measures for their control to ensure the safety of the water in buildings. These principles prove effective and practical for controlling the growth and dispersal of pathogens, as well as chemical and physical hazards in building water systems.

Water Safety Plans and Risk Assessments

Water is essential for many applications including industrial processes, hygiene, food processing and consumption – but along with its many uses and benefits, it also poses risks. Traditionally, it was thought that water could only be harmful through the consumption of contaminated water in the potable water system, but studies have shown that safety concerns come in microbiological, chemical and physical forms and can cause harm by inhalation of water droplets and by skin contact, as well as by ingestion.

With the complexity of water management, the passive monitoring of water quality in all areas of a building is no longer sufficient for ensuring water quality and safety. NSF can help you develop a water safety plan that identifies risks for a variety of water hazards or we can provide a risk assessment specifically for Legionella.

Our experts can help you minimize the risks associated with water in your buildings or facilities by suggesting improvements, identifying hazards and recommending measures so your team can develop a more comprehensive water risk management program.

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