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Legionnaires’ Disease and Large Plumbing Systems in NYC

Large plumbing systems and water supply systems are one of the most common vectors for Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks in New York City. Although we consider cooling towers to be the most common, large plumbing systems which have not been properly maintained also present a threat of Legionella overgrowth – leading to an increased chance of Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks.

What is Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ Disease is a severe form of pneumonia that occurs when someone is infected with Legionella bacteria. Although the symptoms are similar to that of regular pneumonia, they can occur much more severely and in a much quicker timeframe. This includes:

  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath

Legionnaires’ Disease can also present flu-like symptoms in patients as well, with fever, muscle aches, and headaches typically preceding the traditional pneumonia symptoms.

Although Legionnaires’ Disease can be treated with antibiotics, it nearly always requires a hospital stay and future monitoring to ensure there is no permanent lung damage.

How Can I Get Legionnaires’ Disease?

Legionnaires’ Disease is caused by the Legionella bacteria, a type of bacterium that is typically found in bodies of fresh water. In New York City, Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks occur due to Legionella growing in large, man-made water storage systems. This includes:

Stagnant bodies of warm water are optimal conditions for Legionella growth.

Can I Get Legionnaires’ Disease from Large Plumbing Systems?

Large plumbing systems and water supply systems are highly susceptible to Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks if they are not properly maintained. This is because there are several factors that make large plumbing systems especially susceptible to Legionella growth:

  • Length of time water sits in pipes. As water sits stagnant and ages, it is more susceptible to Legionella growth due to the degradation of any added disinfectants.
  • Lukewarm water. Water that is in pipes is typically stored and transported at temperatures that is optimal for Legionella growth.
  • Little flow of water in a pipe. Legionella grows best in stagnant water with minimal flow.

The age of pipes can be a major factor in Legionella growth as well. Older plumbing systems can lead to corroded pipes; this corrosion can alter the environment of the water in such a way that is beneficial to Legionella growth.

Who is Liable for Legionnaires’ Disease from Large Plumbing Systems?

Legionnaires’ Disease outbreaks are completely preventable with proper maintenance and monitoring. Therefore, those who are tasked with maintaining and/or managing large plumbing systems in facilities and neighborhoods may be held fully liable.

Additionally, there may be other parties that could be accountable for any resultant damages. It is always recommended to consult a New York City Legionnaires’ Disease attorney if you have any questions regarding a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak or are curious about pursuing a Legionnaires’ Disease lawsuit.

Contact Us Today for Assistance

If you or a loved one has contracted Legionnaires’ Disease from a large plumbing system or water supply system, please contact The Lange Law Firm, PLLC today to discuss your case. We are here to help answer any questions you may have regarding legal recourse for your illness, and explore your options to secure the maximum possible compensation for your needs.

Schedule a free consultation today and see how we can help.