Legionella investigation continues

AS THE investigation into the Legionella outbreak in the water system at Hervey Bay Hospital continues, Wide Bay Water is confident the bacteria did not originate in its systems.

"It is not a bacteria that can grow rapidly in our system," WBW chief executive officer Peter Care said.

The growth of the bacteria occurs in warm and stagnant water conditions and it is often present in the natural environment.

"Legionella bacteria is common in most stream and river systems across the country and if untreated could be a problem," Mr Care said.

While WBW does not test its water for the bacteria, it does monitor water quality for E-coli levels and residual chlorine.

The presence of E-coli and residual chlorine is tested at a number of locations every two weeks, and water and the Urraween reservoir are dosed with chlorine at 2mg/litre in winter and 3mg/l in summer, Mr Care said.

"We utilise very high-tech treatment processes to ensure the quality of water delivered to our customers," he said.

An outbreak of the bacteria at the hospital was confirmed on May 19, after tests were ordered following positive test results for the bacteria in a patient's autopsy.

Since then precautionary measures were taken by the hospital to minimise the risk of the transmission of the bacteria to patients, visitors and staff.

Further tests results are expected within the week which will confirm whether or not the bacteria is still present in the hospital's water system.