Pennsylvania Democratic lawmakers met on Wednesday, May 5 to discuss Legionella prevention at the PA Senate Democratic Policy Committee hearing. Building shutdowns caused by the pandemic have caused concern to both lawmakers and researchers about the state of building water systems and what awaits building occupants upon reopening.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller reports, “Now researchers think the legislation is more timely because of things like this: water fountains and pipes that have sat dormant inside buildings, dormitories, and schools for more than a year. That gives the bacteria called Legionella even more time to spread.”

Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1285, also known as the Legionnaires’ Disease Prevention and Reporting Act, was sponsored by Senator Wayne D. Fontana (D-Allegheny), and would require large buildings such as hospitals and long-term care facilities to make Legionella testing a required part of a building’s water management.

“People are afraid to know whether Legionella is present or not,” Dr. Janet E. Stout, president of Special Pathogens Laboratory, told KDKA. “So, by making it a requirement that fear goes away.”