01 July 2014 | SPL News

The University of Pittsburgh flushed plumbing twice this month at the University Club and Family House University Place in Oakland because a resident contracted Legionnaires' disease, officials confirmed on Monday.

It isn't clear whether the person contracted the disease from bacteria-tainted tap water in the building at 123 University Place, said Randy Struk, president-elect of the Family House board. He did not know the person's condition and could not release the name.

The patient was staying at the Family House residence for medical patients and their families. “As far as I'm aware, nothing has been confirmed as linked” to the water supply, Struk said.

Family House leases from Pitt the top four floors of the eight-story University Club building, where the nonprofit community group maintains and rents out 48 bedrooms on a short-term basis. It had the tap water tested for Legionella bacteria on June 16 when workers learned about the lone Legionnaires' diagnosis, Struk said.

When the water tested positive for the bacteria, Pitt heated and flushed pipes on June 20, university spokesman Ken Service said.

Struk said a second heat-and-flush process cleaned the plumbing on Friday because a second test showed small amounts of Legionella might remain

“We have carried out what is believed to be the recommended, standard procedure for addressing Legionella bacteria,” Service said. He said Pitt knew of no similar problems at neighboring buildings.

At the Uptown-based Special Pathogens Laboratory, CEO Janet E. Stout said Family House and Pitt responded well. Her lab handled the water testing, though Stout said she could not comment on the concentration of Legionella it found.

“It was sufficient to warrant a response by the facility,” Stout said. “They took a very aggressive and proactive response, and very rapidly.”

Excerpt from Triblive, Monday, June 30, 2014, by Adam Smeltz