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BACTERIA found in college water system

PUBLISHED: 15:46 02 November 2001 | UPDATED: 15:19 03 March 2010

BACTERIA which can cause fatal diseases, has been found in the water system at Suffolk College.

The college has reassured staff, students and visitors after Legionella and other bacteria was found when routine maintenance checks were carried out, during an upgrading of the water system.

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By Tracey Sparling Health Reporter . . .tracey.sparling@ecng.co.uk

BACTERIA which can cause fatal diseases has been found in the water system at Suffolk College.

The college has reassured staff, students and visitors after Legionella and other bacteria was found when routine maintenance checks were carried out, during an upgrading of the water system.

Professor Dave Muller, college principal, said: "This is not uncommon in buildings of the age and type and isn't reportable to the Health and Safety Executive.

"Nonetheless, when I received the report I contacted the HSE for advice, so that I could ensure the health and safety of staff, students and visitors. The HSE set out a series of actions for us to take and these were implemented immediately and in full by external consultants."

Routine tests will be carried out on a regular basis to comply with HSE requirements, and more remedial action taken if necessary.

The test results were received on Wednesday, and confirmed there was no risk to health and safety.

Professor Muller added: "We've now decided to make radical improvements to the boiler system and some of the internal water systems will be replaced. This may mean some disruption to the water supply during the coming weeks, but I'm sure people who work, study and visit the college will understand just as long as we keep them informed – as we fully intend to do."

Legionella bacteria occurs naturally in freshwater environments and is present in many older water systems.

The bacteria can be controlled through robust treatment methods set out by the HSE.

Factfile:

nLegionnaires disease is a pneumonia that principally affects those who are susceptible due to age, illness, immuno suppression, smoking, etc.

nOutbreaks of legionellosis have associated with water services in buildings, cooling towers, whirlpool spas, humidification systems and industrial coolants.

nOn University campuses, sources presenting the greatest risk of Legionellosis are those supplying a high quantity of water for showers, with humidifers and cooling towers.

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