This past weekend, it was reported by WKBW Buffalo that the Buffalo Public Schools were investigating a potential claim of Legionella being found at the Districts office. According to the report, the bacteria was found in a single water sample and furthermore, according to a spokesperson for the Buffalo Public Schools, it is unclear whether this finding is accurate.
Part of the reason for the lack of clarity is due to there not being any current standards for Legionella testing in buildings that are not health related. This is in addition to the fact that individuals associated with the Buffalo Public Schools, at the moment, have no information about the collection technique utilized by the custodial engineer who found the positive result and as such, have had additional questions regarding the accuracy of the testing.
According to the Buffalo Public Schools, local health officials have so far not received any complaints of Legionnaires’ disease or a Legionella related outbreak being associated with any specific building this year. Even so, out of precaution, the District building proceeded to raise the water temperature to 170 degrees with both the hot and cold water systems being flushed. Once the flushing is completed, a sampling protocol will be taken which should bring forward additional information regarding the situation in about 2 weeks.
Now from the news article, it sounds as though it is questionable whether there is, in fact, any Legionella bacterial infection in the Districts office to begin with. Yet the fact that this is so unclear is perhaps the most disconcerting part of this story. The fact that there are apparently no standards for Legionella testing in non health care related buildings is one which can and should be remedied immediately in order to help prevent another record year of Legionnaires’ disease across New York state.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.