Legionella bacteria has been found in cooling towers at two more Long Island school districts, officials said Friday in online statements to parents.
The cooling towers that serve Hauppauge High School and Centereach High School have both tested positive for the bacteria, according to the superintendents for Hauppauge Public Schools and the Middle Country Central School District.
Hauppauge Superintendent Patricia Sullivan-Kriss said the levels of the bacteria in the samples were "very low." Middle Country Superintendent Roberta A. Gerold said the amount of legionella bacteria in the two samples that tested positive out of five total were in "slightly higher concentrations than is acceptable by the newly established standards."StoryOfficials: Schools' water tower has LegionellaVideoLegionella bacteria found at Smithtown high schoolsStoryDistrict: Legionella bacteria found at LI schools
Both districts pointed out that the water in the cooling towers does not at any point enter the school building or come into contact with drinking or potable water in the school, and said there had been no reported cases of Legionnaires' disease from staff, students, or visitors to either school.
Both districts also said they had decided to do a complete offline decontamination, which includes disinfecting and flushing the cooling towers, cleaning the tower surfaces manually and refilling them with treated water. The districts said the cooling towers will be continually monitored for the bacteria.
Earlier this week, the Connetquot and Smithtown districts announced that legionella bacteria had been found at district cooling towers -- in Connetquot, it was at the central office cooling tower, and in Smithtown, the bacteria was found in cooling towers at the East and West high schools.
The bacteria was discovered after officials tested the tower as part of a state-ordered initiative, district leaders said in letters posted on their websites. Schools are conducting tests after 13 people died of Legionnaires' disease since the bacteria was detected in the Bronx in July. More than 120 other people have been sickened by it.