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You are here: Home Schools Environmental Testing Update from the Scarsdale Schools: Legionella Treatment Completed, Building Air Quality Meets Standards
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Environmental Testing Update from the Scarsdale Schools: Legionella Treatment Completed, Building Air Quality Meets Standards

legionellaAccording to the CDC, there are increased risks of the presence of mold and legionella bacteria in school buildings that were shut down for a prolonged period during the COVID crisis. And that’s just what was found after environmental testing was done in the Scarsdale Schools this summer after many of the buildings were closed for months.

Water testing was done on September 4 and on September 14 district officials were informed that legionella bacteria was found at Quaker Ridge Elementary School and in the Scarsdale Middle School. After the results came in, the district covered all water fountains and drinking stations with the exception of water stations that include UV filtration, that kills the pathogens. They supplied water bottles for drinking at both schools and planned to replace all water fountains with UV filtration stations. According to an email from School Superintendent Dr. Thomas Hagerman, “District Food Services in the two affected schools will suspend the use of kitchen sinks at for food preparation until mitigation is complete.”

Now over a month later we asked the administration if the legionella had been eradicated and if so, where we could find the new environmental reports.

Here is the response we received from Assistant Superintendent Stuart Mattey concerning the legionella. “Regarding Legionella, as you may recall, the District made the decision to have the water systems of all buildings treated although only QRS and SMS had tested positive. Regarding Legionella - all buildings have now been treated. We are waiting on these reports which will be posted as soon as they are available. Treatment is expected to totally eradicate the bacteria. UV filtered bottle filling stations were permanently placed in QRS and the MS with 48 hours and the rest of the District shortly thereafter as an added precaution.”

Last year the district resolved to do annual mold testing at all district schools, so we looked for those test results on the district website as well. However, the results for the Indoor Air Quality or IAQ tests that were posted for each school dated October 2 were all identical and did not show any data or testing results. The reports were issued by a new vendor, WSP USA. Last year the district used Louis Berger.

Here is what Mattey explained:

“WSP purchased Louis Berger this past year. The regional office and the engineers etc. that we work with remain unchanged. WSP conducted its now annual IAQ testing in early/mid-August. Only the IAQ summaries are posted at this point. We are still awaiting the final reports which have to be recreated due to the server issues at WSP which was corrupted. Once we receive them they will be posted”

However, Mattey assured the community that all problems have been resolved. He said, “The summary is basically, that during their visits to our buildings that if there were any IAQ concerns that were observed, they were addressed immediately and that based on the data from actual testing (which was not lost), that the buildings were safe for re-occupancy.”

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