JANUARY 8, 2016
Prescott Lovern, Sr. (Lovern) just recovered from Legionnaires Disease, contracted in Ocean City MD (OCMD) in early fall of 2014. Legionella [Legionnaires Disease] has been an ongoing problem in OCMD since at least 2000, according to Center for Disease Control (CDC) documents. In 2011 one OC hotel guest who caught Legionnaires died.
Lovern has investigated the situation after not being convinced the problem / originating source is the private sector, as local / state government officials want you to believe. After investigating the City of Ocean City, its Public Works Department / Water Department; MD Environmental Protection Agency (MD EPA), MD’s Health Department; US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) & CDC, Lovern has concluded the originating source of Ocean City Legionella is the Ocean City Public Water Department, which has tested positive for Legionella.
City & State Officials have been covering up that the Ocean City (OC) water system is the real problem, and government officials have continuously shifted the blame on the private sector. OC city officials flat out lied to Lovern about the current outbreak. The County Health Department tried to cover for the City and its contaminated water system. The conduct of OC / State Officials is so unconscionable that government officials should be prosecuted. The person who died in 2011 from Legionnaires is negligent homicide, criminal liability pointing at the City / State.
In what can only be described as “Corrupt Government,” OC Condominium building Home Owner Associations are having to install enormously expensive water filtration systems at their expense to treat the public water being sold to them when it’s the City’s legal / moral responsibility to make sure the water they sell is safe; and, it’s the State’s legal / moral responsibility to make sure all public drinking water systems in MD are safe. Of course, if water being sold to a hotel or condo building is infected with Legionella bacteria it’s going to infect the building’s plumbing system, unless the building has its own sophisticated water treatment system. That is the outrage, the fact that the private sector has to treat water it is paying for, sold by the government. The City / State has failed miserably; putting people’s health at risk, as Legionnaires mortality rate is as high as 50% [CDC], all the while damaging OC home / business owners financial investments.
Maryland has received roughly $300,000,000 + in federal grants from the federal safe drinking water fund [DWSRF] since its creation by Congress in 1998, yet, not ONE PENNY [according to published documents] has been used to take the necessary steps to protect users of OC’s water system, even though City & State Officials have known about the problem since at least 2003. Lovern, in his capacity as private attorney general under the Federal False Claims Act (FCA), is now authorized by federal law and the US Department of Justice to recover that money with automatic treble damages based on allegations that MD violated the FCA in applying for and receiving the vast majority of those federal grants. The DWSRF fund is to assure that public water systems within the states are safe. Lovern will be holding Maryland accountable for its unconscionable behavior.
The US EPA has taken a hands off policy when it comes to Maryland public water systems. Why? The US EPA told Lovern it’s because they do not have jurisdiction. THAT IS A FLAT OUT LIE. In addition to the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, and, the ruling in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in 2003, and, “there are over 300 million pieces of evidence that gives the US EPA jurisdiction to test / monitor the public water system in OC and all over MD,” says Lovern. Federal grants also create jurisdiction.
Lovern has credible evidence that Worcester County Health Department Tests in OC are being altered / omitted to hide OC / State liability; plus, all water tests conducted in OC have been done by culpable parties who have incredible conflicts of interest.
The cover-up and shifting of blame in OC is outrageous, unconscionable, and criminal. Now we will see what the Maryland Legislature & Congress do about this. Lovern will use the courts to hold OC / Maryland Government Officials who are responsible for the public’s health, accountable, not the private sector who is also a victim. OC / State Officials negligence and premeditated conduct could have killed Lovern. Not a smart move.
UPDATE: JANUARY 13, 2015 - [NEW INFORMATION CONNECTED TO GOVERNMENT KNOWLEDGE / GOVERNMENT INCOMPETENCE, and MOTIVE TO BLAME PRIVATE SECTOR]
FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & MENTAL HYGIENE, YEAR 2000 - Report of the Maryland Scientific Working Group to Study Legionella in Water Systems in Healthcare Institutions June 14, 2000, Baltimore Maryland:
“In Maryland, health care providers are required, under the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR), to report cases of legionellosis disease to local health departments. Between 1990 and 1999, there were 366 ‘confirmed’ legionella cases reported to the Maryland DHMH (Figure 1). Patients in 46 (13%) of the 366 cases died. Prior to 1997, ‘probable’ cases were also recorded; from 1990-1996, there were 37 probable legionella infections. Cases were reported from 22 of the 23 Maryland counties, with no obvious geographic clustering. Sufficient data were available to say that in at least 33 of the cases the infection may have been acquired in a hospital; 10 (30%) of these possible nosocomial case patients died. Definitions for confirmed, probable, and nosocomial cases (based on CDC definitions [14,19, 20]) are summarized in Appendix C. As in the national data bases, it is likely that there is substantial underreporting of legionella cases in Maryland. In this context, it should be noted that clinical laboratories are not required to report positive assay results for legionella to the health department (as is required for certain other diseases of public health significance, such as salmonellosis and meningococcal meningitis).”
Sept. 5, 2013 (HealthDay News) – [Source - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website; Sept. 6, 2013, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report]
“While U.S. water sanitation has improved, bacteria-laden drinking water continues to cause disease outbreaks, according to a report released Thursday by federal health officials.
In all, unsanitary drinking water was responsible for 1,040 illnesses, 85 hospitalizations and nine deaths in 17 states during that time.
Legionella in community water systems was behind more than half of the outbreaks, while Campylobacter was the second most common outbreak cause, according to the report published in the Sept. 6 issue of CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
States that reported drinking water-related outbreaks were California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah and Vermont.”