Keeping a watch on Legionnaires disease in NYC

25Aug2015
BY Burns Mechanical IN Construction, Energy, Service

New cooling tower being lifted into place

New cooling tower being lifted into place

As a result of the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx that has killed at least 12 people, New York City has enacted a new law requiring the registration of cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with the Department of Buildings (DOB). The City seeks to track equipment location and maintenance.

Here is a recent communication to building owners from commissioner of the New York City Buildings Department Rick Chandler, P.E.:

“Effective Tuesday, August 18, 2015, building owners are mandated by the new law to comply with certain reporting requirements. A failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the Department including the issuance of violations with associated monetary penalties.

Owners must comply with the following mandatory requirements:

Registration of New and Existing Equipment

  • Register existing cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with the Department of Buildings within 30 days of the law’s enactment.
  • Register new cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with the Department of Buildings prior to initial operation.

Certification of Existing Equipment and Discontinuance of Use

  • Annually certify to the Department of Buildings that cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers have been inspected, tested and remediated in accordance with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulations, and that a maintenance program and plan has been developed and implemented.
  • Notify the Department of Buildings within 30 days of removing or permanently discontinuing cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with a statement that the cooling tower was cleaned and sanitized in compliance with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requirements.

Department of Health Commissioners’ Order Documentation

  • On August 6, 2015 the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued a mandatory order to have cooling systems inspected and remediated within 14 days of receipt of the order. Owners are encouraged to upload this documentation to the DOB cooling tower tracking portal to show proof of compliance with the Commissioner’s Order.

A failure to comply with any DOB mandatory requirements will result in the issuance of a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.

For additional information and to register your cooling tower, fluid cooler or evaporative condenser visit nyc.gov/dob/coolingtowers and follow the Cooling Tower Registration link. For information on required maintenance standards and the DOHMH Commissioners’ Order pertaining to cooling towers, evaporative condensers and fluid coolers, visit nyc.gov/coolingtowers.”