Michigan - Legionella Prevention and Costs of Legionnaires Outbreaks

Historical Headlines Related to Legionella

June 6, 2024

An individual at a Michigan public school is being treated for Legionnaires' disease after contracting the bacteria earlier in the month. The individual is associated with a school which caters to individual with autism. Officials are now coordinating with the county health department for a safety plan. In the case of this school, the classroom where the infected person was located will be independently tested. So will the building's water and its HVAC systems. (Source)

May 16, 2024

During the Flint water crisis, twelve people lost their lives during a Legionnaires' disease outbreak. Their families were changed forever as a result of this crisis and they continue grappling with their losses 10 years later. Documents show McLaren Flint Hospital was a source of legionella bacteria dating back to 2008. Data from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services shows a staggering jump in Legionnaires' cases after Flint switched its drinking water source to the Flint River on April 25, 2014. (Source)

March 1, 2024

A Veolia subsidiary reached a $25 million settlement with property owners and residents of Flint, Michigan, who claimed the engineering firm's negligence prolonged the city's water crisis. The crisis began in 2014 when the city switched its water supply to the Flint River from Lake Huron to cut costs. Corrosive river water caused lead to leach from pipes, contaminating the drinking water and causing an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. (Source)

February 22, 2024

In Detroit, employees working at the Patrick McNamara Federal building are pushing to have it temporarily closed for Legionella concerns. The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) found elevated levels of lead, copper, and Legionella throughout the building's water systems. Reports sent to building employees show over the last few months, GSA has run multiple tests at 120 sites. A November round of testing showed multiple sites with uncontrolled or poorly controlled levels of lead, copper, and Legionella. (Source)

January 26, 2024

Elevated Legionella levels prompted officials to close parts of the Patrick V. McNamara Federal Building in downtown Detroit. The U.S. General Services Administration-Great Lakes Region said in a statement that water tests conducted at the site determined elevated levels of Legionella in specific test points. "Immediately after receiving these test results, the GSA notified building occupants, shut off the affected water outlets, and restricted access to the outlets," the statement said. "In addition, the GSA is continuing to flush water through these points while developing a full building water flushing and sampling testing plan. Additional testing is being conducted on the elevated test points." (Source)

December 21, 2023

After elevated levels of Legionella were found, some bathrooms and water fountains were taken out of service at the Patrick McNamara Federal building in downtown Detroit. The Legionella levels were first detected in a cooling tower on the building's roof. The agency then conducted additional testing at 120 sites within the building and found the water-dwelling bacteria at multiple sites. (Source)

August 24, 2023

The state health department has issued a reminder for Michiganders to be wary of legionellosis. Legionellosis is a respiratory infection that occurs from a bacteria called Legionella, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Legionellosis is most prominent in late summer and early fall, and it can result in Legionnaire’s disease or Pontiac fever. The state says 186 cases were reported in 2023 as of late July. (Source)

February 1, 2023

While weekly bottled water donations have ended for citizens of Flint, Michigan,the water crisis there is ongoing. Health officials have urged residents to continue to use faucet filters certified for lead removal until the residential lead service line replacement is completed. The city is offering free water filter units, replacement cartridges and water testing kits for Flint residents for pick up at City Hall or for delivery by the Office of Public Health. Highly toxic levels of lead were discovered in the water and outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease coincided with the switch, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, prompting a state of emergency declaration in 2016. (Source)

December 15, 2022

Charges were dismissed by a Michigan judge against former Governor Rick Snyder in connection with the Flint water crisis. This dismissal occured several months after the state Supreme Court ruled that grand jury indictments returned in the case were invalid. Genesee Circuit Judge F. Kay Behm dismissed the case against Snyder. Snyder was governor in 2014, when under state-appointed managers the government of Flint, a majority-Black city, switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in order to cut costs. Corrosive river water caused lead to leach from the pipes, exposing thousands of children to lead poisoning and leading to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease. (Source)

October 20, 2022

Felony charges were dismissed Tuesday against seven people in the Flint water scandal. This included two former state health officials who were blamed for deaths from Legionnaires' disease. The judge's dismissal was significant but not a complete surprise. In June, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously said a different judge acting as a one-person grand jury had no authority to issue indictments. (Source)

August 25, 2022

Annual water testing results were provided to the Grosse Pointe Public School System by Testing and Engineers Consultants Inc. The report indicated an improved water quality position for the district from last year’s results. One school site tested with higher-than-recommended lead and copper mineral levels, compared to multiple sites across nine schools testing with higher-than-recommended legionella bacteria the previous year. (Source)

September 2, 2022

The Genesee County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are working with the Hurley Medical Center to investigate a possible case of healthcare-acquired Legionellosis. An individual was hospitalized during part of their incubation period and spent part of their incubation period in their home. (Source)

August 25, 2022

The Hurley Medical Center stated that the hospital's water was not the source of a Legionnaires' Disease illness found in a patient last month. The patient was admitted with symptoms of Legionnaires' disease to the hospital in July. After initial negative results of the bacteria in the water at the hospital, Hurley staff says every test has come back negative and the patient likely contracted the disease at home. (Source)

July 15, 2022

A possible case of healthcare-acquired Legionellosis is being investigated by the Genesee County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and are working with the Hurley Medical Center. An individual was hospitalized during part of their incubation period. (Source)

July 15, 2022

Charges against former Gov. Rick Snyder and others in the Flint water scandal were thrown out by the Michigan Supreme Court. It was ruled that a judge sitting as a one-person grand jury had no power to issue indictments. The Supreme Court decision benefits former health chief Nick Lyon (who was charged with involuntary manslaughter tied to deaths from Legionnaires' disease) and seven others. (Source).

June 30, 2022

The air conditioning was shut off at Wayne State in the Student Center after traces of Legionella were presumptively found in the building’s cooling tower. The announcement was sent to all Student Center employees. The Water Safety Program of Wayne State was conducting routine testing on water-based cooling systems when the bacteria was found. “We recently discovered elevated levels of what is presumptively legionella in the cooling tower of the Student Center building,” according to the announcement.

May 25, 2022

Michigan Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday from defense attorneys for former state officials charged for their involvement in the Flint drinking water crisis. Last year, Genesee County Circuit Judge David Newblatt charged the group, and six others, including Snyder, for their involvement in the Flint water crisis, when the city's water supply was contaminated with lead causing an outbreak of Legionnaire's disease. (Source)


Michigan has had 107 cases of Legionnaires' disease reported in 25 counties between July 1 and July 14, 2021, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. This represents a 569% increase from referrals from the same period in 2020 (16 cases) and a 161% increase from referrals from the same period in 2019 (41 cases).

Reported Settlements and Jury Awards

Given the incidence of legionella in Michigan, and its associated harm, personal injury claims and litigation are also becoming more frequent. Reported settlements and jury awards range from $300,000 to $1.3 million per case.

State Cap on Jury Awards

Pursuant to Section 600.1483, Michigan has a cap on the award amounts allowable by law. In addition, public health notices and negative media attention can also lead to business interruption and reputation damage.

Groundwater Temperature Risk Level – Medium

Overall Liabliity and Risk for Michigan – Medium

Yes, ASHRAE 188 is part of the state code

Legionella and Water Management Plan Assistance

Need help? For Legionella consulting and services, Water Management Plans, Legionella Control Systems, and Legionella testing please contact us at Legionella Control Systems at 888-416-8626 or info@legionellacontrolsystems.com