Two more Chesterfield schools test positive for Legionella bacteria

Taking Action

CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WRIC) — In two meetings this week, Chesterfield officials admitted two more schools tested positive for Legionella bacteria.

At the CCPS and Chesterfield County liaison meeting Monday, a presentation showed Hopkins Elementary School’s small cooling tower tested positive for Legionella bacteria.

At the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisor’s meeting Wednesday, the Board of Supervisors announced L.C. Bird High School tested positive for Legionella bacteria as well. The board also disclosed in the meeting that the district is awaiting test results for four other schools.

“As you can see, this county-wide concern is not from an abundance of caution, but rather of a necessity of a potential public health crisis,” County Administrator Joe Casey said.

Chesterfield Schools first announced had tested positive for Legionella bacteria: Falling Creek Middle, Midlothian Middle and Greenfield Elementary school.

Chesterfield schools said it would clean all the cooling towers in the district by the start of school. Later, the school district sent a letter home to parents that the schools would be cleaned by the first day.

But an 8News Taking Action investigation found that the company that tests the cooling towers for Chesterfield schools warned the district that the cooling towers needed to be cleaned. Water Chemistry Inc. recommended Legionella testing for years.

A Water Chemistry Inc. report in June said 28 of the 36 cooling towers in the district had parts that needed repairing.

County Administrator Joe Casey says officials met with the CDC about the Legionella outbreak.

“From a discussion with CDC yesterday, they told school and county and state health officials that our school cooling towers were some of the poorest facilities maintained that they’ve seen across the country,” Casey said.

You can watch the full Board of Supervisors meeting here.

8News reached out to Chesterfield County public schools and is waiting to hear back.

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