DPW wraps up initial Legionella testing

The Army recently mandated testing for Legionella bacteria in all of its facilities with showers in Germany in order to comply with the new German Final Governing Standards. U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden is nearing the end of its testing cycle.

Legionella is a bacteria, which can grow in manmade water systems among other areas, and in a small instance of cases can cause Legionnaires’ disease when inhaled in droplets. According to the Army Regional Health Command Europe, the bacteria does not pose an emergency or current health threat, and water can still be used for drinking, cooking, bathing and showering.

Of the 280 samples collected from 155 facilities, the results for 10 samples were elevated. Those 10 samples came from seven buildings; only four of the buildings have occupants, and they were notified of the results.

The Directorate of Public Works immediately inspected hot water supply systems in those buildings and took corrective action. Mitigation for the bacteria includes raising water temperatures in the buildings, flushing pipes and installing additional sampling ports in boiler systems.

The corrective actions successfully lowered bacteria levels in two of the facilities. Mitigation will continue, along with retesting, until acceptable levels are reached in the facilities. If samples are reported above the action limit, residents will be notified and additional corrective measures will be implemented.

Approximately 15 locations remain to be tested to comply with the new annual requirement.

For more information, contact Bill Kavanagh, DPW Environmental Division program manager, (0611) 143-548-4092 or william.j.kavanagh.civ@mail.mil.