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Grand Rapids Legionnaires' outbreak updates to be shared at meeting

A large, blue metal water tower that reads, "Grand Rapids It's in Minnesota's Nature" in capital black letters stands against a blue sky
Maria Hileman
The water tower in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, in early 2024.

Grand Rapids Public Utilities and the Minnesota Department of Health will share updates on the city's Legionnaires' disease outbreak at a Yanmar Arena meeting.

GRAND RAPIDS — Grand Rapids Public Utilities will host a community water workshop to provide updates about the city’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at Yanmar Arena at noon on Friday, March 1.

Since April 2023, there have been 14 reported cases of the infection concentrated toward the center of the city, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. While the disease can be fatal, a letter from GRPU shared with customers said most people can tolerate the infection without even noticing it.

Grand Rapids is addressing the Legionnaires' outbreak with the Department of Health collaboration and considering a potential chlorination system installation.

Julie Kennedy, GRPU general manager, stressed that the water is safe to drink, as Legionnaires’ is contracted by breathing in water vapor that contains the bacteria.

“There is no reason to use bottled water for drinking, there’s no reason to not brush your teeth with the water,” Kennedy said. “The water is safe to drink.”

GRPU is in the midst of a full environmental assessment of the water system, Kennedy said. The assessment likely won’t be fully completed by March 1, but there should be more information available.

Kennedy also said she hopes to know more about the timeline related to possible chlorination and other mitigation efforts.

The Minnesota Department of Health will also be at the meeting.

People with questions or concerns can contact Kennedy at or 218-326-7687.

Megan Buffington joined the KAXE newsroom in 2024 after graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Originally from Pequot Lakes, she is passionate about educating and empowering communities through local reporting.