Flint Legionella Outbreak Caused by Iron

Virginia Tech Professor Marc Edwards released to CNN the unpublished results of a study that show the Flint water crisis most likely caused the deadly outbreak of Legionnaires disease that killed at least 12 people since 2014.

Edwards is the independent Virginia Tech researcher who found lead in Flint's drinking water back in 2015, when state officials still denied it was leeching into the water supply.

The engineering professor says he recreated the crisis in his lab this winter and found that the corrosive water created an environment where bacteria could flourish.

When the Flint River water went into the system it released a lot of iron, and removed the disinfectant from the water," Edwards said. "And in combination, those two factors, the iron as a nutrient and the disinfectant disappearing, allowed legionella to thrive in buildings where it could not do so previously."

Flint's water crisis happened because state officials made a temporary switch in the water supply and did not properly treat the water with an anti-corrosive agent. That decision caused the harsh water to eat away at the pipes as it traveled to homes. Lead pipes leeched lead into the water, poisoning hundreds. Iron pipes leeched iron, Edwards said - and created the conditions for the Legionnaires outbreak.

New Data May Link Flint Water System, Legionnaires' Deaths

New research is raising questions about what role the water system in Flint, MI, played in a major outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease…..Experts say the findings “suggest that Legionella thrived throughout the Flint water system, making it the real culprit in Legionnaires' deaths and illnesses in 2014 and 2015,” the report said.

The state does not agree. Since the Legionnaires’ deaths included patients at McLaren-Flint hospital, the state is focusing on the hospital, rather than the water system, as the source of the problem. The state says that "the supply water coming from the city of Flint is not contributing to the Legionella issues at McLaren [hospital] and any issues are likely internal to the hospital system,".

[A] 2016 study found Legionella bacteria levels in Flint tap water were up to 1,000 times higher than normal,” Michigan Radio reported.

Read more       https://www.wateronline.com/doc/new-data-link-flint-water-system-legionnaires-deaths-0001