You may already have Legionella on your radar as a potential health hazard that needs to be tackled with preventive care in your facility’s water system. However, it is also important to manage the presence of Legionella in your building in order to remain in compliance with the state of New York’s regulations.
These have been put in place to prevent outbreaks of disease and keep facility owners accountable for the safety of their equipment, which means that failure to comply could result in fines or other penalties. To avoid these consequences, understand what New York State’s Legionella compliance regulations look like, and be sure to work with a professional compliance company to manage your water.
What Legionella Compliance Looks Like in New York State
New York State remains vigilant against the development of legionellosis, the variety of disease that can be caused by the Legionella bacteria when it becomes vaporized into water droplets. Cases have increased by four times from 2000 to 2014, with cooling towers responsible for the largest chunk of the sickness; 20% of all outbreaks and 45% of individual cases were traceable back to these specific pieces of equipment.
In New York State, any building owner or manager who is seeking to remain in compliance must follow six steps. The first is to register your cooling tower. The state maintains a cooling tower registry, and each tower must be registered so that if an outbreak occurs, action can be taken quickly based on the government’s knowledge of all cooling tower locations.
Next, you must be sure to regularly sample the water in your building; in general, sampling should occur approximately every week. Any legionella sample that reveals 1,000 colony forming units per milliliter (CFU/mL) or greater must be reported to the local health department within 24 hours of the test.
Third, be sure to regularly report the sampling and inspection dates and results to the cooling tower registry. Simply taking a sample that is approved as less than 1,000 colony forming units per milliliter (CFU/mL) and then electing not to report because it does not meet the threshold is not permitted, corrective action must also be taken.
Fourth, ensure that the tower is regularly inspected, and that these inspections are also reported to the registry. Regardless of the last inspection date, all cooling towers must be inspected prior to their season start-up, and then inspections should continue once every 90 days. If you have maintenance done on your tower, you will need to conduct another inspection, even if the 90-day due date is not yet current.
Fifth, you must develop and follow a maintenance plan. Each year prior to November 1, all cooling towers must obtain certification that reviews this maintenance plan and ensures that it is comprehensive and being followed. Finally, all records relating to the cooling tower and its regular maintenance and inspection must be kept accessible on-site for a minimum of three years.
Tower Water Can Help
While Legionella compliance may seem like simply conducting a few tests throughout the year, it is much more nuanced and can benefit from professional oversight. Specialized companies such as Tower Water can manage your facility’s Legionella requirements to help you ensure that you remain in compliance each year, freeing you up to focus your attention on other areas.
If you fail to adequately complete each step of the Legionella compliance process in New York, you may receive a fine or even a mandate to cease operations until the issue is resolved. This can dramatically impact your bottom line and productivity, which is why it is important to avoid Legionella concerns preemptively rather than conquer them after they have already arisen.
We understand that appropriate water treatment and maintenance strategies should be customized to each facility and can help you to create a plan to prevent the growth of Legionella in your water system.
Work with the Legionella Treatment Professionals
Whether you need help understanding New York State’s Legionella compliance regulations or you would like assistance with your water treatment or Legionella response plan, the professionals at Tower Water would be happy to help. We can assist you with preparing a Legionella sample plan that is suited to your building’s unique needs and risks, and if you are issued a notice of a violation, we can help you to prepare for and resolve it.
Working with a Legionella professional can make compliance simple and straightforward; reach out to the experts at Tower Water to get started and to discuss your options for abiding by New York State’s requirements when operating your cooling tower and other commercial equipment. Contact us by phone at (212) 729-9361 or schedule an evaluation online today.