Recent research first published on the 3rd July 2018 shows a study carried out to see if Legionella bacteria is in domestic rainwater storage butts and if it is present in droplets that could be breathed in when used for common gardening activities.

Samples were taken from 113 different garden rainwater storage butts. Collected rainwater was poured from a watering can or delivered via a hosepipe attached to a submersible water pump and sampled.

Legionella bacteria were detected in 107 samples, two of these samples also contained L. pneumophila, the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease. No bacteria were detected in the air when rainwater was poured from a watering can. However, using a hose pipe on a ‘fine spray’ setting increased both the number of organisms detected in the air and range.

The study concluded that although Legionella bacteria were present in the rainwater, the use of rainwater for common gardening activities should not be discouraged.