Edinburgh's Stewart's Melville sports centre to close overnight for cleaning after 'low levels' of Legionella found in showers

The sports centre at Stewart's Melville College will close for remedial works, after ‘low levels’ of Legionella was found in shower rooms.

Chiefs at the top fee-paying school confirmed that routine tests had discovered low levels of the bacteria at the centre on Queensferry Road, which specialist contractors told themdo not pose a risk to health.

However, staff took the decision to alert parents and all users of the centre about the findings ‘as an extra precaution.’

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Anyone that used the centre’s showers in September has been advised to seek medical advice if they are experiencing breathing difficulties, chest pain, high temperature or flu-like symptoms.

Traces of a bacteria have been found in the showers at the sports centre

Staff told the Evening News there have been no reported cases of infection of Legionnaires’ disease - a potentially fatal type of pneumonia which can be contracted by inhaling airborne water droplets containing ‘viable’ Legionella bacteria.

The naturally occurring bacteria can thrive in stagnant water above 20C.

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To allow remedial works to take place the building will be closed from 4pm on Thursday 29 September 2022 and will reopen on Friday morning.

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The Sports Centre used by students and staff is also open to the public on a membership basis. The swimming pool is also used for swimming classes for children aged three and upwards.

A letter to parents and guardians sent on Wednesday read: "I am writing to inform you that, following improvements to the water supply system in the SMC Sports Centre, our routine testing detected low levels of Legionella bacteria in some of the samples taken from showers. While the results showed that the levels and therefore risks to health were low, the school took immediate action and closed all affected showers in the SMC Sports Centre to prevent their use, pending completion of the required remedial works.

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"While the showers are closed, the swimming pool and other areas of the Centre remain open as normal.

"The advice we have been given from our external specialist is that the risk to health is low and does not require us to notify Sports Centre users. However, to err on the side of caution, we would recommend that if you used the centre showers in September and are experiencing breathing difficulties, chest pain, high temperature or flu-like symptoms, you seek medical advice.”

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Anthony Simpson, ESMS Principal: said: “Following improvements to the water supply system in the SMC Sports Centre, our routine testing detected low levels of Legionella bacteria in some of the samples taken from showers.

"While the results showed that the levels and therefore risks to health were low, the School took immediate action and closed all affected showers in the Sports Centre to prevent their use, pending completion of the required remedial works.

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“As part of our ongoing water management programme, we carry out regular maintenance and inspection of all our supply systems, including temperature monitoring at sentinel outlets, descaling and disinfection in line with best practice recommendations.”