The State Worker

California prison begins treating water contaminated with deadly bacteria


California prison officials have started treating water with chlorine following tests that showed a dangerous bacteria was present in water throughout several facilities in Stockton.

Hyperchlorination of the water started Wednesday, according to a California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation news release. Officials will treat water at California Health Care Facility as well as neighboring N.A. Chaderjian and O.H. Close youth correctional facilities, where inmates are using bottled water, according to the release.

The treatment comes after an inmate who died in early March tested positive for the bacteria legionella, which can cause a deadly type of pneumonia known as Legionnaires’ disease. Another inmate who tested positive for the disease is now in good condition, according to the release.

Water in all 115 buildings at the facilities will be chlorinated, according to the release. The water will then be tested again to see if the treatment eliminated the bacteria.

The department tested 30 inmates with pneumonia for the bacteria. Twenty-seven tests came back negative. One test is still pending, according to the release.

CDCR officials haven’t released the identities of either inmate who tested positive, and did not notify the public of the outbreak until weeks after the death.

The disease can be transmitted through vaporized water and is not contagious.

The department has said no legionella was found in the Stockton water supply.

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