University of Pittsburgh
January 30, 2001

Statement From the University of Pittsburgh

Contact:  412-624-4147

The University of Pittsburgh is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its employees, students, and visitors. In keeping with that commitment, the University has been working with the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) to respond to concerns regarding the possibility that unsafe levels of Legionella bacteria might be present in the water system in Lothrop Hall.

Last week, the ACHD took samples from various locations throughout Lothrop Hall in order to test for the presence of Legionella bacteria. The results of those tests confirm the fact that there is no health risk for the students living in the building, and that there is no requirement for any action on the part of the University. The tests also do not support a conclusion that the University custodial employee being treated for Legionnaire's Disease contracted his illness in a campus facility.

Even though no action related to this matter is required, the University, in consultation with the ACHD, has decided to take the precaution of conducting a "heat and flush" cycle for the water system in Lothrop Hall. This procedure entails heating the water to 158 degrees and flushing the system at that temperature for 20 minutes. With the concurrence of the ACHD, the University will carry out this procedure during spring break, which is the week of March 5. Doing it at this time will minimize the inconvenience to students and help ensure that students will not inadvertently be exposed to scalding water temperatures.

The University has provided the residents of Lothrop Hall with information about the results of the testing and the planned actions that will be taken during spring break.

The University appreciates the prompt assistance from the ACHD in helping us protect the health of our University community.

January 31, 2001