Chlorination treatments at the Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare campus have been effective at preventing the growth of Legionella bacteria, however, the disinfectant has also been eating away at the metal pipes throughout its plumbing system.
The premature corrosion could be shortening the lifespan of the piping by years which would result in pricey repairs and replacements.
The Tribune-Review obtained a 57-page analysis report which “blames high chlorination for pitted pipes and outright failures found in the water distribution system, where workers report occasional dark discharge from faucets.”
“This is a hospital, and we are afraid to drink the water,” said Colleen Evans who is a registered nurse and executive vice president for the American Federation of Government Employees Local 2028.
Dr. Brook Decker, infection prevention director at the VA Pittsburgh acknowledged that the dark tap water could be related to chlorine treatments. She also said “[o]ur real goal is patient safety. A trade-off of a little more maintenance and repair is worth it if we’re saving lives.
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