Legionella Bacteria Found in Schools’ Water Supply

Dayton, Ohio – First COVID-19, now bacteria in the water. It’s a potentially dangerous bacterium that can cause severe pneumonia or Legionnaire’s Disease.

The bacteria were found in the water supply in Kettering City Schools, Vandalia Butler City Schools, Northmont City Schools, and now Dayton Public Schools.

“The testing came back that three of our buildings that we randomly tested had traces of legionella bacteria,” said Dayton Public Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli.

The superintendent said no one’s been in the schools using the water, but that’s the problem.

Legionella bacteria builds up when there’s standing water for long periods of time.

“All of our buildings were closed since the governor’s shut down from the middle of March to about May 11,” said Lolli.

And students will be gone from the schools even longer, remote learning will be going on for at least the first nine weeks for students, but teachers and staff will be back in school buildings this week.

Health officials said the germ can easily spread.

“The way that you contract it is through aerosolized spray in the air so typically it comes from things like showers, hot tubs, showers, anywhere where there’s a midst in the air, but you don’t get it from drinking the water,” said Dayton-Montgomery County Health Department Spokesperson David Suffoletto.

He said buildings and schools do their own testing for the bacteria, but he said the health department will step in, if someone got sick from it.

“Right now there’s no cases, this is part of a routine maintenance program of facilities, if there’s a case of Legionaries Disease then we contact that person who has become sick and we go through an investigation to determine if we can figure out where they may have come in contact with the bacteria,” said Suffoletto.

But the Dayton superintendent said they’re taking some of the same steps as the other districts to make sure that doesn’t happen.

“Our plumbers and our people from operations are out in every building today flushing the water systems making sure they’re clear of any possible bacteria,” said Lolli.

She said the water should be safe in a matter of hours after the flush, but they plan to keep testing in an effort to keep a sickening bacteria at bay.

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