PHOENIX, AZ — According to a story inThe Arizona Republic, fears that the misting system used in the glass atrium of a new federal courthouse in Phoenix could breed legionella — the bacteria that leads to Legionnaires’ disease — have caused the government to perform testing. Results are expected early next year.

The misting system is used to cool the large atrium area of the Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse. It is not used during the winter.

Government officials are said to have no evidence that the system has ever generated any hazard to the public. However, a General Services Administration (GSA) spokeswoman said the agency decided to proceed with testing when a mechanical engineer raised concerns in a study done for an architecture class at Arizona State University.

The Arizona Republic noted, “Experts on protecting against legionella agreed that, from their understanding of the courthouse misting system, the risk of contamination may be remote, but it is real.”

The company that was brought in to conduct testing filed a preliminary report, the newspaper said, but the GSA has requested additional information.

Publication date: 12/23/2002