Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

TRENTON, N.J.- Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes has announced that after extensive cleaning of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at the Mercer County Criminal Courthouse and Annex, the facility will be open for business Monday morning, Sept. 18, 2006.

Hughes, who toured the facility today, took the extraordinary measure of closing the facility on Sept. 14 following reports that an independent title searcher has been diagnosed with legionellosis. The more than 25 air and water samples taken from the facility and tested over the past three days have come back negative for legionella bacteria, Hughes said.

"I am pleased to report that all tests for Legionella bacteria conducted in the Courthouse have come up negative." Hughes said. "It is thus highly unlikely that this employee contracted the bacteria through any of her work at the Courthouse. We have taken every measure to safeguard employees from Legionella and other pathogens, and we will continue to exercise vigilance in keeping the Courthouse free of harmful organisms," Hughes added.

Hughes' call for the evacuation of the Criminal Courthouse and Annex was completely proactive and more extensive than would be required under Centers for Disease Control guidelines since the bacteria was not found. "We wanted to ensure the safety of the occupants of the building and offer them peace of mind that their environment is indeed free of  legionellosis,'' Hughes said.

Mercer County officials will continue to coordinate with state Department of Health officials, where personnel from both agencies and the Trenton Department of Health will be on hand to answer workers' questions.

In addition, the County is developing a preventative maintenance plan to continuously monitor for potential deficiencies in the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.