Timetable provided for St. Elizabeths Hospital water fix

St. Elizabeths Hospital will have potable water again by the end of next week, a deputy mayor said. The announcement came after two types of bacteria were discovered during a water test more than a week ago.

“They expect to return to full operation within seven days,” Wayne Turnage, D.C.’s deputy mayor for health and human services, said Friday.

On Thursday, Sept. 26, a test of the water at the psychiatric hospital by a private contractor found the presence of pseudomonas and legionella bacteria, which can be dangerous to people with weakened immune systems.

“They have worked with consultants and contractors to determine that they will chlorinate the lines in the building. They’ll have to replace all faucets,” said Turnage.

Barbara J. Bazron, the director of the Department of Behavioral Health, said Thursday that patients and staff have been using bottled water, wipes, body wash spray and other cleaning supplies to substitute for running water, and the hospital has contracted an outside laundry service.

Bazron emphasized to WTOP one day before the timeline was updated that “no patient and no staff at St. Elizabeths is sick or showing any signs of illness as a result of this finding.”

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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