Oakwood latest school district to report Legionella in water supply

Oakwood City Schools is working with a water management specialist after discovering Legionella at one school, the third report this week of cases at recently seldom-used area education facilities.

The bacteria which can cause pneumonia-like Legionnaires’ disease was found in a girls’ restroom on the second floor of Smith Elementary School, the district announced late Thursday.

All of the district’s other test results came back negative for the bacteria and “there is no reason to believe anyone was exposed to the bacteria.”

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The district is planning to reopen schools for classes on Monday as scheduled for the first time since March, when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine shut them down due to the coronavirus.

“With the health and safety of our students and staff always a top priority, we will continue to be proactive on all fronts,” Oakwood Superintendent Kyle Ramey said in a statement released by the school district.

“We are looking forward to having our students return to classes Monday….,” Ramey added.

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Legionella can build up in dormant buildings, according to Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County.

Public Health’s website states “water usage may decrease or cease leading to possible water quality degradation.”

This past Monday, the bacteria was found in four places at Butler High School, a Vandalia-Butler district spokeswoman said. The bacteria was also found in one sink faucet in a restroom at Englewood Elementary, Northmont City Schools said in a Facebook post.

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Results for Butler High School came back on Monday, showing the Legionella bacteria in four locations in the high school’s hot water side of the system, the district said in a release.

Northmont Schools posted the statement about the Legionella bacteria on Monday. This testing was also routine maintenance. The district hired Solid Blend Technologies to treat the building’s water system.

Solid Blend is also working with Oakwood schools. The Vandalia company maintains commercial and hospital water systems, and works on legionella detection, remediation and control, according to its website.

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Solid Blend will flush that section of the elementary school’s water system and it will be retested in about two weeks, Oakwood officials said.

The building's other restrooms will remain operational, according to the district.

Legionella commonly occurs in “multiple locations and multiple water systems,” PHDMC Public Information Supervisor Dan Suffoletto has said.

A Kettering Fairmont High School custodian died last year of Legionnaires’ disease. Earlier this summer, Kettering City Schools - after another employee was diagnosed with Legionnaires’ disease – found legionella bacteria in four water samples at Fairmont.

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