New York Governor Passes Historic Cooling Tower Regulation to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks
On August 17th, 2015, Governor Cuomo of New York announced new emergency health regulations mandating that all cooling towers across the state must be registered, inspected and tested to help prevent the spread of Legionella bacteria. This is the first regulation in the United States that requires, by law, Legionella testing in cooling towers as well as establishes numerical limits that require disinfection. This regulation has been passed after the worst outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in New York history, which claimed 12 lives and infected at least 124 people in the South Bronx.
According to the new regulation, building owners with an existing cooling tower must register the tower with the State Department of Health within the next 30 days. The owners are also required to collect samples and conduct culture testing within the same time frame. Additionally, the cooling towers in nursing homes and hospitals must also be tested for Legionella. Concentrations above 100 CFU/mL must be disinfected immediately with subsequent Legionella testing required. Once the cooling tower is under control, testing must be performed every 90 days.
“Mandating Legionella testing to prevent outbreaks is a good first step,” said Diane Miskowski, MPH, Legionella Program Manager at EMSL Analytical, Inc. “The next step in the process should be requiring Legionella testing of drinking water systems of any building having substantial populations of immunocompromised people. The CDC released a study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on August 14, 2015, which stated that Legionella in drinking water, as opposed to cooling tower water, was responsible for 66% of the outbreaks and 26% of the 431 cases studied for drinking water related illnesses. In order to establish an effective Legionella control program for a building, it is important to look for Legionella bacteria in all building water sources that have been associated with outbreaks.”
EMSL Analytical, Inc. has seven CDC ELITE proficient Legionella laboratories throughout the United States and Canada. The laboratories are located in Cinnaminson, NJ, New York, NY, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN, San Leandro, CA, South Pasadena, CA, and Toronto, Canada.
To provide in-depth information about Legionella and how it causes outbreaks, EMSL is hosting a free Comprehensive Legionella webinar on Wednesday, September 16th. Click here to register today. To view a PDF version of EMSL’s Legionella Pocket Guide, please click here or request a hard copy for free by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .
About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental, indoor air quality, consumer product and materials testing services and products for professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.
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