Tartu waterpark, sauna open, Legionella-contaminated showers being scrubbed

Showerhead. Photo is illustrative.
Showerhead. Photo is illustrative. Source: Hendrik Kuusk/Tartu City Government

While specific, contaminated shower facilities at both establishments are still undergoing sanitation following the discovery of above-normal concentrations of Legionnaires' disease-causing Legionella bacteria in the water, Tartu's Aura Waterpark and the public Anne Sauna are currently open, city officials said Friday.

Aura Waterpark and Anne Sauna have both responded quickly and appropriately to the potential risk and implemented various measures to resolve the situation, Tartu Mayor Urmas Klaas (Reform) said following a meeting with various relevant officials and representatives Friday according to a press release.

"Both establishments are continuing to operate, and there's no reason to believe that visiting them could pose a danger," Klaas said. "Tartu Waterworks likewise confirms that the city's tap water is safe to use."

Present at Friday's meeting were representatives of Tartu City Government, Aura Waterpark, Anne Sauna, the Health Board, Tartu Waterworks and the University of Tartu (TÜ), who aimed to determine what was behind the recent spread of the Legionella bacteria.

According to the latest test results in Thursday, Legionella bacteria was present at above-normal concentrations in four first-floor showers at Aura Waterpark and two showers at Anne Sauna.

As soon as the results were received, all first-floor shower facilities at Aura Waterpark were closed as a precaution, as they are all linked to the same plumbing system. All of the showers at Anne Sauna were closed Thursday night as well.

While the exact cause of the Legionella blooms is yet unknown, both establishments are continuing to work on determining it. To date, all samples taken from Tartu Waterworks' own pipes have been negative, the city said, noting that in each instance, positive samples have been connected directly to specific establishments.

At the beginning of March, the Health Board confirmed the presence of Legionella bacteria at limit-exceeding concentrations in samples taken from the water pipes at Tartu's V Spa, following which the Health Board began testing other similar establishments in the city as well in a precautionary measure.

According to city government officials, there is currently no reason to believe Tartu's current Legionella situation is any different than elsewhere in Estonia, and the recent number of positive samples is evidently the result of a significant degree of testing currently being done.

All of the showerheads at Aura Waterpark are being replaced, and the first-floor plumbing system is undergoing chlorination and will be heat shocked. The establishment's hot water heater temperature meets requirements.

Aura Waterpark remains open to guests, however they will have to use the showers on the second floor for the time being, which tested negative for Legionella bacteria according to the Health Board.

Anne Sauna is likewise replacing all of its showerheads and will be getting its plumbing cleaned out. The public sauna is open; only the two shower facilities that tested positive for Legionella remain closed.

All affected showers will be reopened as soon as safely possible, the city confirmed.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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