Jul 15, 2019

Canadian Hospital’s Water Supply Contaminated with Legionella

Copper & silver ionization system installed to combat Legionella issue

Copper & silver ionization system installed to combat Legionella issue

A hospital in Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, has relied on bottled water for months after Legionella bacteria was detected in its water system. 

According to CBC News, routine testing showed low levels of Legionella bacteria at Lady Minto Hospital. Island Health said the water is not suitable for drinking or bathing, and installed a copper and silver ionization system in May. Hospital officials are confident the bacteria will be removed from its system by mid-July. The system attacks organisms in the water. According to CBC News, no hospital residents or staff have fallen ill from the contaminated water. 

Inhalation of water contaminated with Legionella poses a risk to the public, as one can develop Legionnaires’ disease. The elderly and those with compromised immune systems have a greater risk of falling ill and the disease can also lead to pneumonia. 

Kelly Yerema, Island Health technical service manager for Lady Minto, is approaching the situation with the mentality that “safer is better than sorry," according to CBC News, which reported the levels of Legionella were “very low.”

Yerema said the bacteria most likely developed from old water trapped in outdated pipe in the hospital’s water system. Some of those pipes are still connected to the system but no longer are in use. 

"I expect by the end of the week we will see relief for the residents and their families," Yerema told CBC News.

Yerema said the Legionella levels have dropped in the past six week, and a water quality report is expected Friday, July 12.