A school will delay welcoming pupils back from the summer break after the bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease was found at the site.
Broke Hall Primary School in Ipswich discovered traces of the legionella bug during “routine testing”.
Students had been due to start term on Tuesday, but in a letter to parents, headteacher Ruth Fairs said the school’s water supply may not be declared safe until 16 September.
The school has about 600 pupils.
Ms Fairs said there would be a return to home learning – as seen during the height of the Covid pandemic. The school is also exploring options to carry out lessons at alternative locations.
The head teacher said a “deep disinfection” of the school’s water system would be carried out in tandem with testing to achieve “definitive expert confirmation” the primary school is safe to reopen.
Legionella bacteria can grow and multiply in stagnant water systems, such as those in buildings that have been closed or had limited water flow, like in this case, schools, colleges, universities, nurseries etc..
Regular monitoring helps to detect any potential issues early on, allowing for prompt action to be taken.
By implementing routine monitoring, schools can identify and address any concerns related to water quality, including the presence of legionella bacteria. This can help prevent the spread of infections and ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors.
It’s important for schools to work closely with qualified professionals, such as water treatment specialists to develop and implement a comprehensive monitoring plan. This plan should include regular testing, maintenance of water systems, and appropriate remedial actions if any issues are identified.
By prioritizing routine monitoring, schools can take proactive measures to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
Flushing and chlorination are both crucial steps in maintaining water quality and ensuring the safety of water during certain situations. Here’s why they are important:
- Flushing: Flushing involves running water through the pipes and fixtures to remove stagnant water that may have been sitting in the system for an extended period. It is particularly important during situations like water system shutdowns, maintenance, or after a period of inactivity (e.g., vacations, building closures). Flushing helps to eliminate any potential contaminants that may have accumulated in the pipes, such as legionella bacteria. It also helps to restore water quality by bringing in fresh water from the main supply.
- Chlorination: Chlorination is the process of adding chlorine or chlorine-based disinfectants to water supplies. It is a common method used to kill or inactivate harmful microorganisms, including legionella bacteria; chlorine is an effective disinfectant that can destroy a wide range of pathogens and prevent waterborne diseases. During situations like water main breaks, repairs, or when there is a risk of contamination, chlorination is crucial to ensure that the water supply remains safe.
In summary, flushing helps remove stagnant water and potential contaminants from the plumbing system, while chlorination disinfects the water, killing harmful microorganisms. Both processes are essential for maintaining water quality and safeguarding public health during various situations.
If you are interested in learning more about monitoring your building’s water supply and the chlorination of your water systems, then our advisors are available to discuss these options with you. We can also provide you with further information and guidance.