VA Working on Long-Term Solution for Legionella Bacteria Found in Grand Island Clinic


The Department of Veterans Affairs has removed most water-use restrictions after finding Legionella bacteria in the water system at the VA Clinic in Grand Island last week.

The bacteria found during annual water testing at the facility is of a species that can cause Legionnaires disease, a type of pneumonia. Water-use restrictions, such as use of showers and hot tubs, were immediately implemented to prevent possible exposure to the bacteria.

Only some strains make people sick and so far no cases of the potentially fatal disease have been reported at the Grand Island facility.

The facility installed point-of-use shower head filters to provide immediate protection from the bacteria so showering could resume.

Additionally, the city of Grand Island increased chlorine levels of water entering the facility as a way to flush the system as a short-term solution. City officials say Grand Island's water system was at no time compromised during this action.

The VA's long-term fix involves installing a copper-silver ionization system that is designed to purify and disinfect water. The system is expected to by fully operational within the next few days.