The Onondaga County Health Department is reporting that the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) has adopted emergency regulations to prevent the spread of disease caused by Legionella bacteria. Indu Gupta, MD, MPH, Commissioner of Health explained, “These regulations are designed to protect the public’s health by requiring proper operation and maintenance of cooling towers and to also document these processes through a state-wide information system.” The Health Department explained the goal is to prevent Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks similar to that which recently occurred in New York City.
Lisa Letteney, Director of Environmental Health, explained that these regulations require that all cooling towers in New York State be registered, tested for the presence of bacteria, inspected and certified. The deadline for statewide electronic registration, testing, and inspection is September 16, 2015. Registration can be done at: https://www.ny.gov/services/register-cooling-tower-and-submit-reports.
In addition, building owners must submit an acceptable cooling tower operation and maintenance plan to the NYSDOH by March 1, 2016. Until this plan is in place, facility owners must test for bacteria every 90 days and report the results on the NYSDOH information system. Any cooling tower confirmed to have Legionella bacteria present must have it disinfected by a licensed commercial pesticide applicator. The Onondaga County Health Department’s Division of Environmental Health will monitor this registry to ensure compliance. Building owners, who fail to comply with these regulations, will be subject to enforcement by the Onondaga County Health Department.
Additional information on these regulations can be obtained by calling the New York State Department of Health Legionnaires’ Disease hotline at 1-888-769-7243. The complete regulations can be found at: