Oakwood school water retests negative for Legionella bacteria

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

OAKWOOD — All restrooms at an Oakwood elementary school are open after testing came back negative for Legionella bacteria, according to the school district.

Trace amounts of the bacteria were discovered last month in a second-floor girls' restroom of the Smith Elementary School, prompting the closure of that area.

The Oakwood City School District is among area districts where the bacteria were found in recent weeks after schools sat largely dormant since Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a statewide shutdown in March due to COVID-19.

Oakwood schools reopened with face-to-face instruction Aug. 24, just days after the Legionella was found.

Legionella can cause a serious type of pneumonia from the breathing in of mist or swallowing water into the lungs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Oakwood schools conducted proactive testing in all of its facilities during the summer in preparation to reopen the school buildings,” the district said in a released statement.

“All of the district’s other initial test results came back negative for the bacteria,” according to the district. “Due to the bathroom being closed since March, experts say there is no reason to believe anyone was exposed to the bacteria.”

After Oakwood’s initial test results, officials said the district followed the recommendations of Solid Blend Technologies to flush that part of the Smith water system and then retest.

Solid Blend is also working with Northmont schools after it found Legionella in mid-August, the same week it was reported in Vandalia-Butler schools.

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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