Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a versatile pathogen associated with a broad spectrum of infections in humans. In healthcare settings the bacterium is an important cause of infection in vulnerable individuals including those with burns or neutropenia or receiving intensive care. In these groups morbidity and mortality attributable to P. aeruginosa infection can be high. Management of infections is difficult as P. aeruginosa is inherently resistant to many antimicrobials. Furthermore, treatment is being rendered increasingly problematic due to the emergence and spread of resistance to the few agents that remain as therapeutic options. A notable recent development is the acquisition of carbapenemases by some strains of P. aeruginosa. Given these challenges, it would seem reasonable to identify strategies that would prevent acquisition of the bacterium by hospitalised patients. Environmental reservoirs of P. aeruginosa are readily identifiable, and there are numerous reports of outbreaks that have been attributed to an environmental source; however, the role of such sources in sporadic pseudomonal infection is less well understood. Nevertheless there is emerging evidence from prospective studies to suggest that environmental sources, especially water, may have significance in the epidemiology of sporadic P. aeruginosa infections in hospital settings, including intensive care units. A better understanding of the role of environmental reservoirs in pseudomonal infection will permit the development of new strategies and refinement of existing approaches to interrupt transmission from these sources to patients.