A legionella contamination in the water supply has forced a Devon school to close early for the summer holidays. The school was originally going to close on July 23, 2013, but it is now going to close on July 19th. The Devon County Council stated that the reason the school is closing early is because they want to give the workers ample time to clean up the water supply. The legionella outbreak occurred back in February, and children at the West Exe school had been drinking bottled water ever since then.

Vicki Carah, who is the head teacher at the school, has stated that the decision was not taken lightly. The school’s water system received a deep cleaning during the Easter holidays. However, tests have shown that there are still traces of legionella in the water. This school is one of five that was built between 2004 and 2006 under the PFI, or private finance initiative by Carrillion.

Ms. Carah has sent a letter out to all of the parents at the school. In the letter, she stated that closing the school early has caused inconvenience, but the decision was made after careful consideration. Carah stated that she and Carrillion had worked hard to make sure that the water system was clean, but the infection has not been resolved yet. She also stated that the summer holidays give the workers a chance to fully rectify the problem.

Carrillion has also issued a statement. They have said that they are continuing to work with West Exe School and Devon County Council in order to coordinate and undertake the work that is necessary to resolve the problem. PFI was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1992. It allows private companies to run, finance and build private sectors, such as schools, hospitals and prisons.

The Drinking Water Inspectorate, or DWI, is a part of the Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs. It is responsible for regulating the water supply. According to the DWI, drinking water must meet the standards that have been set by Drinking Water Initiative in 1998.

Legionella contamination can cause Legionnaire’s disease, which is a severe form of pneumonia. If this condition is left untreated, then it can lead to respiratory failure and septic shock. Septic shock is a condition that causes blood pressure to drop suddenly. Legionnaire’s disease can also lead to acute kidney failure.

Most people who are exposed to legionella bacteria do not become seriously ill. However, some people are at a greater risk for developing legionnaire’s disease than others. Smokers, people with a weakened immune system and older people are at an increased risk for developing this condition. Furthermore, this condition can very easily spread in places like nursing homes and hospitals.

AquaCert Legionella Test Kits for Drinking Water

Water which is intended for 'drinking' must conform to various chemical and bacteriological standards. The UK has high quality drinking water supplied by the Water Undertakers (Thames, Severn Trent etc) who ensure that these standards are met.

This analysis checks the quality of the actual 'supply' water. This kit contains materials to disinfect the tap, and then the tap is flushed for a couple of minutes at medium flow before the sample is taken. Sampling in this manner prevents local contamination at the tap outlet from producing misleading results. Once the sample is taken it needs to be analysed as soon as possible.

For this reason AquaCert organise the courier collection, we also supply temperature controlled boxes to ensure the sample arrives in good condition.

View our Drinking Water Test Kits

Author: +Duncan Hollis