New discovery of legionnaires' disease bacteria at 2 Gatineau buildings

One month after the bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease was discovered at the Place du Portage government complex in Gatineau, the bacteria has also been found in two nearby buildings.

Legionella discovered in Place du Centre hot water supply, 30 Victoria St. cooling tower

The legionella bacteria, which can cause legionnaires' disease, has been discovered at Place du Centre in Gatineau, one month after a similar discovery at a nearby building.

One month after the bacteria that causes legionnaires' disease was discovered at the Place du Portage government complex in Gatineau, the bacteria has also been found in two nearby buildings.

On June 12, Public Works and Government Services Canada sent memos to employees alerting them that legionella bacteria had been found in the domestic hot water supply of Place du Centre at 200 Promenade du Portage, as well as the cooling tower at 30 Victoria St.

The system at each building was immediately shut down. The hot water system at Place du Centre is expected to remain offline for the next two to three weeks, until tests show the area has been disinfected and meets Health Canada standards, the memo said.

The cooling tower is now clear of bacteria, the other memo said.

According to the PWGSC memos, Health Canada has concluded that the risk to the public remains low.

Latest discoveries

This latest discovery of legionella marks the second finding of the bacteria in Gatineau since the beginning of May.

On May 11, tests came back showing bacteria levels at 2,000 colony-forming units, or CFUs, per millilitre in the cooling system of the nearby Place du Portage phase three building, 20 times the federal government's standard of reporting.

Andy Smith, the associate assistant deputy minister of Public Works, said at the time that the system was shut down within 15 minutes and "super chlorination" soon eliminated the legionella.

Legionella can cause legionnaires' disease, a severe form of pneumonia named after the unfortunate delegates infected during an outbreak at an American Legion of Pennsylvania convention in 1976.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says about only 1 in 20 people exposed to the bacteria contracts legionnaire's disease.

One case diagnosed in Ottawa

Meanwhile, Citizenship and Immigration Canada also told employees on Monday a worker in one of their buildings had been diagnosed with legionnaires' disease.

The employee was working in Jean Edmonds North Tower at 300 Slater St., and has since made a full recovery, the CIC announcement said. 

There is no indication that employee contracted the disease from the building at 300 Slater St., but the Public Works department is inspecting the building as a precaution.