WEST ORANGE, NJ – Although much of the contamination caused by the legionella bacteria recently found in a number of West Orange facilities the has been remediated, the township reported this week that work still needs to be done on several facilities to completely eliminate it.

According to Mayor Robert Parisi, the additional proactive test results on the internal plumbing in 17 other municipal buildings have been received after the township discovered “elevated levels” of the bacteria at West Orange Town Hall in July.

“We are proud to report that the West Orange Public Library is completely safe and has no levels of legionella in its water supply,” he said. “This applies to 10 of the other municipal buildings. However, the test results reveal that Lafayette Park, O’Connor Park, Fire Headquarters, Firehouse No. 2, Firehouse No. 4 and the Police Headquarters do contain certain elevated levels of legionella.”

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As a result of these discoveries, the township has shut down the internal plumbing at those locations and is implementing the same remedial steps that were taken at the West Orange Municipal Building. According to the township, this means that filters will be installed, bottled water will be made available immediately, and all plumbing will be flushed to eliminate any bacteria.

New Jersey American Water and other expert consultants have advised the township that these steps will “fully remedy the current situation.”

On behalf of the New Jersey American Water Association, Kevin Watsey, vice president of government affairs, released the following statement reiterating the company’s commitment to providing safe water to its customers.

“Although the drinking water we deliver is treated and meets all federal and state water quality standards and requirements, the quality of that water can change once it leaves our pipes and enters domestic plumbing systems,” the company said. “When we became aware of the issues the Township of West Orange experienced with legionella in the plumbing infrastructure of its Municipal Township Building, we began proactively working with Mayor Parisi, his staff, health officials and town consultants to provide expert guidance and assistance as the town works to remedy this situation.

“We are committed to helping the township resolve this issue as they work to disinfect and upgrade their building systems to ensure a healthy and safe work environment for their employees.”

For information on legionella, visit the Water Quality page on the New Jersey American Water Association website.

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