December 15, 2020 jzacher 0 Comments

As buildings continue to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic, the risk of legionella exposure remains, including in schools that have been closed for many months. Stagnant water, like that in buildings that have been closed for extended periods, provides an ideal environment for Legionella to grow.

At least 10 schools in Pennsylvania and Ohio found harmful bacteria in their plumbing when attempting to reopen this fall. Schools often have many water use locations, from gym showers to drinking fountains, making them vulnerable to bacterial growth, including Legionella, when the systems aren’t cared for properly. However, water researchers note that most schools do not flush their water pipes regularly. While school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic have highlighted the bacterial issues that can arise when water is left stagnant, schools are regularly vulnerable to this during school breaks.

Despite the risks, there are no federal requirements for most schools to test their drinking water and testing for Legionella is voluntary. There are no federal regulations that determine what kind of action and when it must be taken if Legionella is found in a school’s water system.

Water researchers have highlighted that the pandemic is an opportunity for schools to better understand their water systems and implement water maintenance programs. They recommend assessing water safety every summer before school returns, flushing the water system, and having chemical treatments ready. [1]

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[1] https://www.cadillacnews.com/business/dangerous-bacteria-is-showing-up-in-school-water-systems-reminding-all-buildings-closed-for-covid/article_365102dc-2e97-5da9-b3f3-e3d6c4ef44a3.html

Legionella exposure poses a risk as schools reopen was last modified: March 23rd, 2021 by jzacher

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