ANSBACH, Germany – U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach recently conducted routine Legionella bacteria testing within community facilities in early April. German environmental law requires an annual monitoring of bathroom showers for Legionella bacteria at locations meeting certain technical criteria. The Environmental Final Governing Standards for Germany are a regulatory directive, aligning both Department of Defense policy and German federal and state regulations to provide environmental compliance criteria for all DOD installations.
Therefore, all facilities, including on-post housing and tenant unit buildings with bathroom showers that meet the technical criteria for routine monitoring of Legionella bacteria were tested.
A third-party testing laboratory has completed sampling the designated housing units and other specific garrison buildings in accordance with German requirements. The results for these tests are coming back daily, and the garrison is responding as specified in the regulations. The garrison DPW will take mitigating actions, such as flushing the units with hot water, or installing filter shower heads if readings are particularly high. Then, about seven days later, a second test will be taken, with results returned in about two weeks.
Thus far two buildings housing rotational forces in Illesheim have shown that an unspecified type of Legionella bacteria is present. The residents were informed of the findings and the buildings were thermally flushed to kill the bacteria. The barber shop on Storck also had elevated readings. It will be fitted with an on-demand water heater to ensure adequate water temperatures are maintained.
All samples taken at Bleidorn Kaserne April 11 have come back with a clean bill of health.
Facts to remember: The tests only indicate that a strain of Legionella has been identified – not the type of strain, and there are many. Testing has been taking place across German garrisons and facilities, and at each location, some Legionella have been detected. Also, it is important to note that there have been no reported cases of disease associated with Legionella, which is spread by the aerosolization of water (e.g. shower heads) and does not impact a resident’s ability to drink or cook with the water.
For questions regarding testing, contact the USAG Ansbach Environmental Division at DSN 467-3422, CIV 09802-83-3422.
For any medical questions about Legionella, contact MEDDAC-Bavaria Preventive Medicine at DSN 590-3966, CIV 09662-83-3966.
For more information on Legionella and why routine test monitoring is performed, visit www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html.