Hospital water off on Sunday over Legionella

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Tamara Timothy reports

Guernsey's Princess Elizabeth Hospital will turn off the water supply for an eight-hour period on Sunday because it has been hit by an outbreak of the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's Disease.

The Legionella bacteria was discovered in the water supply during routine checks, but no patients or staff have fallen ill, though doctors and nurses have been placed on alert.

All storage tanks will be drained, cleaned and disinfected, and between 10am and 6pm on Sunday and chlorinated water flushed through the system before fresh water introduced.

Sterile water is being supplied for use in medical procedures and bottled water for drinking. Food will continue to be served, with hot food for patients and pre-packaged food for staff and visitors. Hot drinks will continue to be available on the wards.

But visitors are being asked to bring their own liquid refreshments where possible.

Toilet facilities will be in short supply and, while patient facilities will be retained as normal, porta-loos will be set up around the PEH grounds for staff and visitors.

Legionella causes Legionaire's Disease, which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia.

People catch the water-born disease by inhaling small droplets of water suspended in the air, which contain the bacteria. It is most commonly found in water systems like domestic hot water systems, industrial cooling water apparatus adn industrial cooling towers. It can also develop in large air conditioning systems, fountains, domestic cold water, and swimming pools.

HSSD director of corporate services Richard Evans said: "Although the level of Legionella in the PEH water supply is above what is normally acceptable it still represents only a minimal risk to health and safety and is safe to drink. We are carrying out a carefully integrated plan to decontaminate the hospitals water system."

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Currently displaying the top 3 comments View all 3 comments
Legionella, hyper-chlorination Report Abuse
Posted By: kenneth on 13-Jan-2012
You do realize that flushing chlorinated water twice in a 2 week period will not rid your system of bacteria right? legionella lives underneath the bio-film that surrounds the pipe wall in a plumbing system, all your doing with hyper-chlorinating the water is to basically sunburn the bacteria that is resting on the top of the bio-film, while everything else that's underneath the bio-film is still thriving. there are better ways to control legionella in a recirculating hot water system. for more information please refer to and just an fyi, after a super heat and flush and hyper-chlorination your contamination levels can come back within as soon as one week.

[No Subject] Report Abuse
Posted By: Nurse, st Martins on 09-Jan-2012
Nurses placed on alert??? The first I heard about it was on this website, and I work at the PEH.

[No Subject] Report Abuse
Posted By: Peter on 09-Jan-2012
Call me a sceptic if you like but what`s the odds that the HSSD come out with:- "This sort of thing will happen now and then when our budget is so restricted", or something to that effect.

Currently displaying the top 3 comments View all 3 comments

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