Cardiff’s new Eastern High ‘super-school’ to remain closed indefinitely after legionella bacteria discovered

Cardiff’s new “super school” has been forced to close indefinitely after the discovery of legionella bacteria, it has emerged.

Rumney’s Eastern High School, which launched on Monday, will remain closed until further notice while emergency maintenance work is carried out.

Staff contacted parents by text message for the first time yesterday and apologised for the short notice and inconvenience.

A spokeswoman for Cardiff council said: “We are sorry that Eastern High will need to remain closed tomorrow in order for essential maintenance work to continue following the discovery of legionella bacteria during a routine test at the school.

“The legionella bacteria is of low risk to health and is commonly present in the environment but the school’s water system does need to be chlorinated thoroughly as a result.

“We have been speaking with health care professionals, who have assured us that legionnaire’s disease, which can arise as a result of this bacteria, cannot be transmitted from person to person or as a result of drinking water or hand washing.

“As a precaution, due to the work pharmacy no prescription which needs to be undertaken and the disruption this will cause to the school, it will remain closed until further notice.”

Legionella is a natural bacteria found in ponds, streams, rivers and reservoirs which, when used as drinking water, can some times survive the disinfection process.

At low levels, the bacteria poses no risk but when water is contaminated with high numbers of legionella, there is a risk of people contracting legionnaires’ disease.

A spokeswoman for Public Health Wales said: “We have been informed that legionella has been found as part of routine water testing and understand that the problem is being rectified. Usually in these cases there is unlikely to be a risk to public health and once the work is successfully completed staff and pupils should be able to attend school as normal.

“Cardiff Communicable Disease Team is not investigating any cases of legionnaire’s disease. The Health and Safety Executive have been consulted. Further information will be updated via the school website.”

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