The Hopewell Township Health Department is working closely with Trenton Water Works (TWW) and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) to monitor the water of Hopewell Township residents served by Trenton Water Works, following two cases of Legionnaires’ disease in Hamilton Township. No cases of Legionnaires’ disease have been identified among Hopewell Township residents, and no Legionella bacteria has been found in Hopewell Township water.
Legionnaires’ disease is a rare type of pneumonia that is caused by Legionella bacteria. You cannot get Legionnaires’ disease by drinking water; it is caused by aspirating water or breathing in water vapor. Symptoms of Legionnaires’ disease are similar to those of COVID-19 and other respiratory ailments, such as cough, shortness of breath, fever, muscle aches, and headaches.
Because the cases of Legionnaires’ disease were found in the section of Hamilton Township that is served by Trenton Water Works, they are actively sampling to determine the scope of Legionella bacteria in their water distribution service area. TWW serves portions of Hopewell Township, including Brandon Farms.
Water sampling to-date has not detected Legionella bacteria in Hopewell Township. Routine sampling for Legionella occurs at the Stop n’ Shop on Denow Road, Stony Brook Elementary School, and the Brandon Farms Clubhouse. TWW also regularly tests for a variety of water quality parameters such as pH, temperature, coliform bacteria, and chlorine levels at numerous additional locations throughout the Township, Regular water quality updates can be found on TWW’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/trentonwaterworks/.
“We would like to thank Trenton Water Works for proactively sampling the water in Hopewell Township to test for Legionella bacteria, and we are relieved by the negative results so far,” said Mayor Courtney Peters-Manning, adding, “The health and safety of our residents is paramount, and we appreciate the ongoing vigilance to ensure that the difficult situation in Hamilton is remediated and contained. Our hearts go out to everyone in Hamilton who has been impacted.”
Hopewell Township Health Officer Dawn Marling adds, “The Township Health Department is in regular contact with Trenton Water Works about the Legionella situation, and we appreciate their partnership in keeping the drinking water safe for our residents in their service area.”
Legionella bacteria is found naturally in freshwater environments, like lakes and streams. It can live and grow in our pipes and in devices we use that require water, such as hot tubs and humidifiers. Home air conditioners do not use water to produce cool air and are not a source of the bacteria. Breathing in water or water vapor can make people sick if the water contains Legionella. Most healthy people exposed to Legionella do not become sick. However, people are at increased risk for infection if they are 50 years or older, especially if they smoke, have chronic lung disease, have a weakened immune system, or take medicines that weaken their immune system. While Legionnaires’ disease is serious, it can be treated with antibiotics.
More detail about Legionnaires’ disease and suggestions for homeowners to clean their home water systems can be found in the press release from the NJDOH addressing the issue in Hamilton Township at https://www.nj.gov/health/news/2022/approved/20220829a.shtml. We encourage all residents to maintain their water systems. Best practices for regular home plumbing system maintenance, as outlined by the NJDOH, can be found at https://www.nj.gov/health/cd/documents/topics/legion/Pamphlet_Legionnaires_Household_Water.pdf.