- Associated Press - Saturday, July 2, 2016

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) - A nearly $5 million water system has been installed at the Illinois Veterans Home to combat a severe form of pneumonia caused by a bacteria.

The facility in Quincy unveiled the water treatment plant and delivery system Wednesday after they went online last week, The Quincy Herald-Whig (http://bit.ly/29a2M0g ) reported.

“We’ve got the cleanest water, probably, in the state,” said Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Erica Jeffries.

The water system was put in place to keep residents safe from Legionnaires’ disease, which sickened 53 people and led to 12 deaths at the Illinois Veterans Home last year. The system provides safeguards against legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease, and other waterborne organisms, according to project leader Tom Buchheit of Bric Partnership in Belleville.

Water from the Quincy water system enters the treatment plant, where it’s tested and treated with additional disinfectant chemicals each day. It then travels to individual buildings and is heated to 165 degrees to kill bacteria. Mixing valves cool the water before it’s released within the building’s water system.

The water is treated multiple times before it’s used, according to Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs spokesman Dave MacDonna.

Backflow valves were installed within the water system to prevent the growth of legionella bacteria.

During the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak, which started in August 2015, the Illinois Veterans Home shut down water sources, including water fountains and cooling towers, and used bottled water for cooking, drinking and bathing.

When the health crisis passed, the Illinois Capital Development Board provided the funds to upgrade the facility’s water system.

“Because of the unique design and structure of the water system, and legionella’s ability to be anywhere that water is aerosolized, it was necessary to remediate the entire system,” said Shay Drummond, director of clinical and environmental services at the Adams County Health Department. Drummond was part of the team of medical professionals who responded to the outbreak.

Drummond and other public health officials continue to meet each week.

___

Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide