Dangerous Waters

MADISON, AL (WAFF) - Water walls, like the one at the new Madison Hospital, are suppose to invoke calm, relaxing moods.  But in Wisconsin, a similar wall is being cited as the source of eight cases of Legionnaires Disease.  None of the victims were patients of the Wisconsin hospital. In fact, one was a deliveryman, just passing through the lobby.

Burr Ingram is the Vice President of marketing and communications.  He said the hospital is taking every possible precaution.

"We follow very strict guidelines to maintain and treat the water, so that it remains as germ free as possible. Now our staff treats it weekly along with the staff from a company that brings their expertise to help maintain the water standards in this particular water wall," said Ingram.

Most designers stay away from chlorine because of the smell, so other methods are used to kill the disease.

"The wall itself was built with a reverse osmosis system, which for those of us who might say what does that mean. It means that the system completely refreshes itself every 24 hours so the water changes out....has very little time to even develop any bacteria," added Ingram.

Ingram said they go above and beyond industry standards to make sure it remains germ free.

"But at the same time we also treat it with ultraviolet light which burns up a lot of the bacteria that might develop and at the same time we also treat it with a bromine chemical compound, which is used in water purification systems."

He said the efforts are critical for any hospital.  Ingram said having a water wall, like this one, can actually be helpful not only to patients, but their families.

"I think water and the sights and sounds of water are part of an overall holistic approach to care...a part of the environment that certainly does create a quieter and more calming environment for someone to wait, as well as perhaps someone to heal."

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