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Environmental Health and Safety Blog | EHSWire

Protection Against Legionella

Posted by Emilcott Associates

Feb 16, 2016, 3:36:46 PM


cooling-towers.jpgAs of November 13, 2015, all owners and operators of cooling towers in New York must abide by New York State Department of Health (DOH) regulations concerning operation and maintenance of cooling towers, evaporative condensers or fluid coolers.  The regulation was implemented to aid in the control of Legionella and are intended to minimize potential exposures to the public who live and work near cooling towers and equipment.  This regulation requires registration and periodic reporting, testing, inspection, and certification.

 

1. Registration

  • All cooling towers must be registered using an online process. http://www.ny.gov/services/register-cooling-tower-and-submit-reports
  • The following information is needed for registration:
    • Building Details
      • Street address of the building where the cooling tower is located 
      • Name, address, telephone number and email of all owner(s) of the building
    • Equipment Details
      • Intended use of the cooling tower
      • Name of the manufacturer of the cooling tower
      • Model number of the cooling tower
      • Specific unit serial number of the cooling tower
      • Cooling capacity (tonnage) of the cooling tower
      • Basin capacity 
    • Equipment Maintenance Details
      • Whether systematic disinfection is maintained manually, through timed injection, or through continuous delivery
      • The contractor or employee engaged to inspect and certify the cooling tower
      • Commissioning date of the cooling tower
      • Date of last routine culture sample collection, sample results, and date of any required remedial action
      • Date of any legionella sample collection, sample results, and date of any required remedial action
      • Date of last cleaning and disinfection
      • Dates of start and end of any shutdown for more than five days
      • Date of last certification and date when it was due
      • Date of last inspection and date when it was due
      • Date of discontinued use

 2. Culture Sampling, cleaning and disinfection

  • Culture type samples must be collected within 30 days of the regulation’s implementation date and at intervals not exceeding 90 days while the tower is in use.
  • Any person who performs cleanup and disinfection shall be a commercial pesticide applicator or pesticide technician who is qualified to apply biocide in a cooling tower.  
  • Biocide products used for disinfection must be registered with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • A cooling tower that is shut down for greater than five days must be cleaned and disinfected.
3. Inspection and certification
  • Cooling towers must be inspected within 30 days of the regulation’s implementation date and at intervals not exceeding 90 days while the tower is in use.
  • The following are authorized to inspect a cooling tower: NYS licensed professional engineer; Certified Industrial Hygienist (CIH); certified water technologist; or an environmental consultant that has the proper training and experience to perform such an inspection.
  • Inspections must follow protocols designated by ANSI/ASHRAE 188-2015 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.
  • Deficiencies must be corrected immediately and the inspector shall document the completed corrective action.
  • An annual certification regarding the operation, testing, maintenance and corrective actions must be made to the State by November 1st of each calendar year.
4. Maintenance program and plan
  • The minimum requirements of the maintenance program can be found in Section 7.2 of ANSI/ASHRAE 188-2015 Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.
  • The plan must consist of the sampling schedules, emergency sampling due to an issue affecting the cooling tower, prompt testing and interpreting Legionella results, and recordkeeping / data available for review by local and state officials.
  • By March 1, 2016 all owners must have a maintenance program and plan in place.
5. Recordkeeping
  • All records must be kept for at least three years.
6. Discontinued use
  • The owner must notify the state within 30 days, if a cooling tower is permanently discontinued for usage and disinfected and drained accordingly.
7. Enforcement
  • Any owner that doesn’t comply with this regulation is subject to civil and criminal penalties as provided by law.
  • Any local or state health department agent may enter and inspect a properties cooling tower.
8. Electronic registration and reporting
  • All information entered will be made public and easily available for any local health agency to view such information.
  • All owners of cooling towers are required to register online with NYS designated commissioner.
9. Health care facilities
  • All general hospitals and residential health care facilities must adopt a Legionella sampling plan for its potable water distribution system, report sampling results, and implement responsive action plans.

For assistance with compliance to these new regulations or answers to questions about Legionella, please contact us at 973-538-1110 or www.emilcott.com.

 

Written by Jason Busacco. 

Topics: ASHRAE's Legionella Standard, Legionella, new york, New York State, cooling towers

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