TYLER, Texas — The City of Tyler announced Thursday a third party contractor has been hired to perform remediation services at Harvey Convention Center (Harvey Hall), one day after the announcement the center would be shut down due to a recent Legionnaires' disease outbreak.
The remediation service will begin Friday.
At a meeting initiated by the City of Tyler with the Northeast Texas Public Health District (NET Health) officials on Wednesday, the City was advised by NET Health that the source of the contamination for the recent Legionnaires' disease outbreak was still under investigation and that no testing location could be ruled out, including those found within Harvey Hall.
Furthermore, the City was informed contamination of the building’s plumbing from a third party vendor tying into and utilizing the plumbing system was a possibility that could not be ruled out.
Though the source point of the contamination has yet to be identified, the City is taking all additional precautions as identified by NET Health.
The City says they are suspending event activity and staff operation at Harvey Hall until the remediation services are complete.
"We can be able to look at our customers and our citizens in the eyes and say with 100% certainty that there is no health risk to you,” City Manager Edward Broussard said.
“One of the things we've been told by NET Health is that the facility is fine to use,” said Broussard. “We don't know for certain that Legionnaires’ disease is present in Harvey Hall. But just the fact that the potential could be there, means that we have to take action and we need to do it immediately."
Initial water testing from selective water fixtures was conducted by NET Health on October 25 and revealed appropriate chlorine levels were present within water samples collected in Harvey Hall. Chlorine is one of several items used to ensure public water is safe, and is the only element that is tested within the initial sampling process. NET Health advised the City on October 25 that there was no evidence of any public health risk that would require cancelling events at Harvey Hall.
Neither the City nor NET Health have received other reports of illness related to Legionnaire’s disease linked to Harvey Hall or the time period of the East Texas State Fair. Additionally, no other issues have been reported within other city-operated facilities. However, the City will opt to have heavily utilized public facilities go use the same remedial process recommended by health officials over the next several months to reduce the likelihood that this could ever occur. Additionally, the City will be updating its venue policies to prohibit vendors from bringing in misting apparatuses.
“While the City understands the inconvenience that stems from moving events from Harvey Hall, we are committed to putting the health and safety of our residents and staff first,” said Broussard.
NET Health issued the following statement Thursday regarding the shutdown of Harvey Hall:
“We do not have any new information to provide that was not already included within the City of Tyler’s release of information related to their decision to close Harvey Hall. The testing results from the CDC […] can provide additional information related to Harvey Hall being closed.”