On September 1, 2016, State Correctional Institution (“SCI”) – Pittsburgh announced the presence of Legionella within its facility. However, the facility tested positive for Legionella as early as May of this year.
SCI-Pittburgh’s medical director, Joseph Mollura (60) died of complications resulting from Legionella pneumonia on August 8, 2016. However, a May 12, 2016 report regarding testing performed at the prison on May 4, 2016 revealed that the cooling tower known as “No. 1,” which served the prison’s medical department, was found positive for Legionella. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends that any cooling tower that has 100 cfu/ml or more of bacteria undergo a cleaning and biocide treatment. The levels found within the cooling tower at the prison were reported to be 430 cfu/ml of Legionella bacteria.
An August 12, 2016 report regarding the cooling tower indicated that it had been cleaned; however, an E-mail dated September 1, 2016 by Robert McSurdy- Chief of the Department’s Safety and Environmental Protection Division- stated the opposite. McSurdy wrote that the original report regarding the cooling tower being cleaned was inaccurate, and that a super chlorination was to occur in order to eliminate the Legionella growing within the cooling tower. The sample taken from the cooling tower on August 16, 2016 showed that cooling tower No. 1 had concentrations of 100 cfu/ml of the bacteria most commonly responsible for Legionnaires’ disease.
The Mollura family has retained counsel to investigate the prison’s method of remediation of the bacteria. It is unclear at this time who at the facility may have been responsible for the cooling tower’s maintenance.
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Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the U.S. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates.