Post-legionella fears haunt residents near rogue factory

Post-legionella fears haunt residents near rogue factory

With the deadly Legionella outbreak in Vila Franca de Xira now declared extinct (final death toll: 10 out of 336 patients), a group of residents is on the warpath.
The locals say they are haunted by fear that the health emergency could happen again, and they want the factory pinpointed as the source of the outbreak “phased out”.
“We don’t want to live all our lives with this factory on our doorsteps,” a householder explained. “We are not saying the factory has to close, but we think there should be a gradual plan of transition with it eventually being moved altogether.”
The call came days after director-general for health Francisco George confirmed that analysis of water from one of the refrigeration towers of Adubos de Portugal (ADP) was found to be contaminated with Legionella bacteria.
George has guaranteed that it is now up to the Public Prosecutor to decide whether there are grounds for prosecution of owning company Fertiberia for environmental crime – but in the meantime, ADP has reopened and is back in business.
As resident Diogo Henriques told Lusa, problems with ADP stretch back years, and “locals have always had doubts about the factory’s activity.
“Three to four years ago, we noticed an orange smoke that left our verandas and washing dirty. With this latest news of Legionella, we realise this is very serious and not simply a question of making clothes dirty,” he added.
The newly-formed commission of residents is now calling for the support of its borough council at Vila Franca de Xira.