Broken "chiller" contaminates drinking fountains at Poplar Bluff VA Medical Center | Health
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - The VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff shut down its drinking fountain system after a chiller malfunctioned.
A malfunctioning "chiller" caused a brief release of trichloroethylene (TCE) into the drinking fountains of the main building of the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff on June 12.
Since the drinking fountains are isolated from all other water sources at the facility, no other sources were impacted, according to the VA center.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) officials confirmed public health was not affected.
Medical center staff shut off all drinking fountains and contacted officials with the health department and Missouri DNR.
Staff gave out water bottles to patients.
Test results late Monday revealed the unusual taste as trichloroethylene – an organic, chlorinated hydrocarbon commonly used as an industrial solvent, and once used in the manufacture of refrigerants.
Tests at the medical center revealed 10 times the Maximum Contaminant Level of trichloroethylene allowed under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The probable contact period was less than 24 hours, according to the medical center.
Missouri Poison Control toxicologist and pharmacist, Dr. Rebecca Tominack said the levels were, "safe for short term exposures."
The VA has monitored employees known to have consumed the water and no ill effects have been reported.
Medical Center Director Marjorie Hedstrom says when they replace the chiller, they will retest the whole system to ensure the water meets all regulatory requirements prior to putting the water fountains back into service.
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