Building owners urged to check for Legionella

Be vigilant: Building owners have been warned to conduct regular maintenance checks of their properties for Legionella bacteria.
Be vigilant: Building owners have been warned to conduct regular maintenance checks of their properties for Legionella bacteria.

Georges River Council has contacted all building owners with cooling water towers on their properties ensure that monthly testing is undertaken following the reports of Legionella bacteria found at two sites in Kogarah.

Last week the council was notified of two separate reports of Legionella bacteria identified through routine testing in cooling towers at two Kogarah locations.

Legionella bacteria was found in a cooling water tower at St George Hospital on Friday, November 29 and at another Kogarah building on Monday, December 2.

"The operators of both towers notified Council in accordance with the requirements of the Public Health Regulation 2012 and have taken action accordingly to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the affected towers.," a council spokesperson said.

'There have been no reports of human infection and experts advise the risk of infection to anyone is low.

"Given the high number of warm days recently and arrival of summer, Council has contacted all cooling water tower owners to be vigilant and ensure that monthly testing is undertaken along with regular maintenance in accordance with the Public Health Amended (Legionella Control) Regulation 2019 to ensure the safety of cooling water systems."

The cooling towers have since been thoroughly cleaned and decontaminated.

It is believed there are up to nine cooling towers in the area.

Legionnaires' disease is an infection of the lungs (pneumonia) caused by legionella bacteria, which are commonly found in bodies of water. It cannot be spread from person to person.

The incubation period between exposure and development of symptoms is two to 10 day from the time of exposure to contaminated water particles in the air and include fever, chills, a cough and shortness of breath and may lead to severe chest infections such as pneumonia.

People with any concerns or questions can contact Council's Environmental Health Section on 9330 6400 to speak to an area Environmental Health Officer.