Twelve residents have been asked to move out of a sheltered housing scheme in Lawford due to a potential risk of legionella at the site.
Honeycroft in Waldegrave Way is run by Tendring District Council (TDC) and staff met with residents this morning to discuss the situation.
The decision to relocate was taken by the Council following advice from specialist consultants and the residents will be provided with temporary Council-owned accommodation.
The consultants have taken away water samples to be analysed.
Paul Honeywood, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said that the move is a precautionary measure at this stage.
“Legionella has not been positively identified in the water system at the site but we have been told there is a high risk as the right conditions for legionella growth to develop have been identified,” he said.
“We are talking about vulnerable members of the community who need to be properly protected and we feel we need to take these steps now, rather than wait for the test results to come back.
“I wish to emphasise that legionella has not been found - and no one has become ill.”
The risk involves the main building at Honeycroft and the bungalows are not affected as they are on a different water supply.
Routine tests carried out by the Council showed that hot water was cooler than it should be, and the cold water is warmer than it should be, providing the conditions in which the legionella bacteria can grow.
The age of the building – it was built in 1961 - means that it has design issues which make it difficult to control water temperatures at a safe level to minimise that bacteria growth which is naturally present in all mains water supplies.
“All the residents involved will be supported on a one to one basis by a Council officer and given the opportunity to move to alternative Council accommodation within the District,” added Cllr Honeywood.
“Officers will continue to work with the specialists to find a solution to the problem.”
TDC has recently updated all its legionella risk assessments for all its Council-owned housing blocks and regularly undertakes water temperature tests at sites.
Cllr Honeywood said that the fact that the issue over the temperatures had been identified showed that the improved measures and testing introduced were working.