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Legionella bacteria found in Richmond, Calif., federal building

Sep. 13, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

The bacteria responsible for Legionnaires’ disease has been found at the Frank Hagel Federal Building in Richmond, Calif., according to a Sept. 12 memo to building employees.

Hyacinth Guillermo Hinojosa, assistant regional commissioner of the Social Security Administration for management and operations support, said the bacteria was found in the restrooms’ water supply during tests conducted Aug. 27 and will not impact the health or safety of building employees.

The agency took additional water samples on Sept. 10 and expects to have the results by Sept. 20, according to Hinojosa.

“We understand it can be very disconcerting to hear about the positive test results of Legionella in the tepid water supply, but we want to reiterate there is no impact on the health and safety of building employees and occupants,” Hinojosa said.

The General Services Administration, which owns the building, did not respond to a request for comment. The Social Security Administration — which has its regional headquarters in the building — also did not respond to a request for comment. Other tenants in the building include the Postal Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and the FBI.

Legionella bacteria have been found at a number of federal facilities in recent years. In 2011 and 2012, five veterans died from Legionnaires’ disease at two VA hospitals in the Pittsburgh region.

In June, testing found low levels of Legionella bacteria at the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona, Pa., and at a contractor facility in Washington County, Pa.

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