Legionella bacteria found in all but 3 schools in West Orange

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Toni Yates has more on the legionella bacteria discovered in multiple New Jersey schools.

New Jersey school officials are taking steps to keep students safe following the discovery legionella bacteria in the water supply.

The bacteria, which can cause lung infections, was found in all but three schools in West Orange.

Officials said a chlorination process, which eliminates all bacteria in the pipes, will be conducted in each affected building.

RELATED: FACTS: What is Legionnaires' disease?

The process includes the following steps:

--Chlorine is pumped into the hot water heater and remains in the hot water tank for four hours to eliminate any bacteria

--Chlorine is then pumped through the hot water piping system and remains in the system for 14 hours to eliminate any bacteria, and all aerators on every sink in the building are cleaned and chlorinated

--Chlorinated water is drained from the hot water tank and hot water piping system and flushed with fresh water

--Water samples are drawn and retested after the chlorination process to verify that the water again meets the Safe Drinking Water Act standards

After the chlorination process is completed, Garden State Environmental will be retesting each water source that tested positive.

The retesting results take approximately seven to 10 days for each building.

The following steps have been or will be completed.

1. Mt. Pleasant had the chlorination process completed on September 19 and was retested for the Legionella bacteria on Monday, September 24. The results from the retesting will take approximately seven to 10 days.

2. St. Cloud had the chlorination process completed on September 22 and will be retested on Thursday, September 27. The results from the retesting will take approximately seven to 10 days.

3. Hazel will have the chlorination process completed on September 28 and 29. Retesting will be done approximately four days after the chlorination process. The results from the retesting will take approximately seven to 10 days.

4. Gregory, Washington and the Administration Building will have the chlorination process completed on October 5 and 6, October 12 and 13, or October 19 and 20. Retesting will be done approximately four days after the chlorination process. The results from the retesting will take approximately seven to 10 days for each building.

5. Edison and Roosevelt will have the chlorination process completed on October 26 and 27 or November 2 and 3. West Orange High School will be completed on November 8, 9, 10 and 11. Retesting will be done approximately four days after the chlorination process. The results from the retesting will take approximately sevent to 10 days for each building.

6. We are still waiting on the results from the Transportation Building.

There are no confirmed cases of Legionella in West Orange, and officials say they will continue to be diligent in their approach to remediate the water sources that tested positive for Legionella bacteria and proactive in completing the process as quickly as possible.

Liberty Middle School, Betty Maddalena Early Learning Center and Kelly Elementary School are the three schools that did NOT test positive.

Legionnaires' disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by the bacteria Legionella, which grows in warm water. Symptoms resemble other types of pneumonia and can include fever, chills, muscle aches, and cough. Most cases of Legionnaires' disease can be traced to plumbing systems where conditions are favorable for Legionella growth, such as cooling towers, whirlpool spas, hot tubs, humidifiers, hot water tanks, and evaporative condensers of large air-conditioning systems.

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Related Topics:
healthlegionnaires' diseaseWest OrangeEssex County
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