Legionella bacteria found at Place du Portage
A cooling system at Place du Portage III building in Gatineau, Quebec, has tested positive for the legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionaires disease.
At a technical briefing late Thursday afternoon, officials with the department confirmed the bacteria was found in two separate instances, one on April 1st and again in early May.
"Our protocol caught it. We acted and that's just standard business for us," said one official with the department of Public Works and Government Services.
According to the department, 400 cfu per ml of the legionella bacteria was found on April 1st. Upon discovery, the cooling system was taken out of commission, sterilized, and re-tested.
In both cases, the department said the cooling system was not re-opened until tests confirmed the bacteria level had dropped significantly.
The bacteria was found again on May 1st, this time with a reading of 2,000 cfu per ml. The cooling system was once again disinfected, and re-tested. Additional tests are expected back later this month.
"PWGSC's standard is 10 times more stringent than provincial standard," an official said during the teleconference.
Although the building houses several thousand employees, PWGSC said they are not aware of any individuals who became ill. The legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaire's disease or Pontiac fever.
Government officials said the building is safe, adding that the public safety was never at risk.