Miami-Dade County public health officials are investigating whether an activated carbon filtration system at in Miami led to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease that killed one man in October and made two people ill in recent weeks.
The county health department issued a health advisory on Dec. 11 to residents, guests and employees at the Epic Hotel & Residences, stating that water samples collected from the property’s plumbing system indicated levels of chlorine were insufficient to rid drinking water of bacteria. Samir Elmir, director of the county health department’s environmental health and engineering division, says the activated carbon filter system strips the chlorine-treated water provided by Miami-Dade County.
Bruce Rubin, hotel spokesman, says Culligan International designed the filtration system. Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, San Francisco, manages the 411-room Epic Hotel, which opened in January. Rubin says no other Kimpton Hotel has this type of water-filtration system. Epic does not yet know what changes or modifications to the system might be needed, he adds.
“Our whole focus is on addressing the issue and reopening,” Rubin says.
Culligan Senior Vice President Eric Rosenthal confirmed the hotel installed one of the company’s commonly used, activated carbon filtration systems.The Rosemont, Ill.-based manufacturer did not install it nor have Culligan officials been granted access to the property to investigate, he says.
“We have no reason to believe a Culligan product has malfunctioned or is related to the outbreak,” Rosenthal says. The company has notified other customers about the situation. “We are confident in the product, and it has never been connected to an illness of this type. We believe it is an isolated incident.”