LAPEER (WJRT) (11/16/2017) - Proactive water tests on Mott Community College's Lapeer campus turned up several positive samples with legionella bacteria, which is leading to some additional projects this month.
Legionella is the type of bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease, which is a potentially fatal form of pneumonia. The bacteria was first detected in the water system in August.
The college attempted to eliminate the legionella by chlorinating the entire water system, increasing hot water temperatures, flushing the water system more often and mapping the plumbing to find trouble spots where the bacteria could reproduce easily.
Despite the efforts, the legionella came back in a series of water tests taken in October, a month after the chlorination.
Beginning this week, Mott will begin installing tempering valves to prevent scalding at individual hot water faucets, replace the main temperature mixing valve on the Lapeer campus and install temperature recording devices to monitor water in the pipes.
A new round of water testing is planned after all of those projects are completed.
Legionella naturally lives in water and only certain strains, which were not detected at the college, cause the pneumonia that leads to serious illness or death. It flourishes in confined spaces filled with water.
Humans have to accidentally aspirate infected water into their lungs or breath it in as a vapor to contract a case of Legionnaires' disease.