At the Baumholder Army Base in Germany, approximately 20 buildings were decontaminated after finding high levels Legionella bacteria. According to the base doctors, no one staying at the base tested positive for Legionnaires’ disease. Army officials explained their attempts to decontaminate the buildings last Wednesday and according to the commander of U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Col. Keith Igyarto, workers are doing everything necessary to protect the health of everyone living in the base.
The discovery of these buildings came about when the Army tested 124 buildings within the military base and community for Legionella bacteria this past February in order to comply with German requirements. Of the twenty buildings which had high enough levels as to require decontamination, six were unoccupied. Ninety of the total buildings tested were either not contaminated or had levels too low as to require action.
The remaining fourteen buildings tested inconclusively and will thus have to be retested at a later time. The Army have already flushed a good deal of the pipes and have also placed filters on the showers in order to potentially strain out Legionella or other bacteria if it ever returns. Now the base is just waiting for the test results to confirm the bacteria has been completely eliminated.
The cleaning procedure often left many residents concerned about additional contamination and even led to some residents of the family housing units posting photos claiming water coming out of the tap was brown once the cleaning process was complete. Officials with the Army responded but stating that the water may be a little unsightly right after the process, the water is in fact safe and in addition, should disappear if you leave the tap running for a little bit.
To have twenty buildings, fourteen of which are actively occupied, infected with Legionella bacteria is certainly disconcerting news so it is of course the hope that the decontamination is successful and furthermore, that the base can develop strategies and methods moving forward to help ensure that Legionella bacteria doesn’t even have the chance to develop in the potable water distribution system in the first place.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.