Legionnaires’ disease has been a growing concern for public health officials throughout the US. Recent outbreaks have heightened the need for measures to regulate the maintenance of industrial and commercial water systems, which are known to be a common source of the bacteria that causes the disease.
Many local jurisdictions throughout the country are considering implementing laws and regulations to ensure that these water systems are adequately maintained to prevent outbreaks.
In 2015, New York State was the first to require all building owners with cooling towers to register with the state and adhere to strict standards for cleaning, disinfection, and testing of the towers for Legionella bacteria.
In New Jersey, legislators are considering establishing similar regulations on how industrial and commercial facilities maintain their water systems due to these outbreaks. For business and building owners regulations can be complex, costly, time consuming, and create additional liability.
Working with a reputable water treatment service company can keep you updated on important elements that are changing, such as NJ’s pending Legionella laws S1006 and A2836. Here’s what you need to know about these new pieces of legislation and how they could affect your business.
What is NJ S1006?
Senate Number 1006 is a bill introduced in 2022 that clarifies many of the requirements surrounding the care of commercial water and how to report Legionella. While it goes into thorough detail about its many points, in summary:
- Businesses must maintain a detectable level of chlorine disinfectant in their water of at least 0.3 milligrams at all times
- Businesses must provide timely notice (within 24 hours) to any customers or residents who may be affected if their water system is disrupted for long enough that a spike in Legionella in the water is possible
- Businesses must work with the Department of Health for each confirmed case of Legionella that has arisen as a result of the business’ water supply
- Businesses must establish a water management program that complies with ASHRAE Standard 188-2018
The bill goes further into detail about how other local entities will work to increase awareness of Legionnaires’ disease through public information campaigns and other elements.
What is NJ Assembly Bill 2836?
S1006 is not the only piece of legislation that is making its way through the legal system in New Jersey. A2836 is almost identical to S1006, with all of the same information applying. However, be aware that it includes:
- Requirements that notice of water disruption resulting in Legionella increase be provided in more than one language if more than 10% of area residents speak a language other than English;
- Qualifications for what constitutes a “disruption,” including changes in the water treatment process, water pressure reduction below 20 psi, tie-ins of new construction, flooding, system repairs, or breakages in water mains and pumps, among others; and
- A description of buildings that are impacted, including those with spas and pools, those over 10 stories high, those with closed-circuit cooling towers or evaporative condensers, and those who house at-risk or immunocompromised individuals, among others.
How To Maintain Your Water Treatment System
Given the important clarifications that are coming through these bills, it is important that you continue to maintain your water system according to the guidelines set forth. The best way to do this is to work with a professional company that specializes in water treatment service and can help you to achieve each metric of your regulatory requirements.
They will provide services ranging from water testing and chemical treatment for bacteria, to system cleaning, and scheduled maintenance. They can even help you to properly keep and file documentation with the state as necessary.
Benefits Of A Legionella Plan
It is critical that your company maintain a comprehensive and strategic Legionella plan that is tailored to your specific building. Having a robust Legionella plan in place helps you to:
- Prevent Legionella from growing in the first place
- Identify Legionella as soon as it begins to proliferate
- Act quickly, before Legionella can spread throughout the system and affect humans
- Spend less on water treatment, because your strategy will be targeted and effective
These are not data sets that you must gather on your own. The experts can help.
Regulations and Guidelines on Legionella Compliance
While each building is different, all structures affected by the S1006 and A2836 bills will need to achieve and maintain compliance. In general, the best ways to do this are by consistently testing the water for bacteria and Legionella, and maintaining water treatment that not only includes the mandatory 0.3mg of free chlorine but also other chemicals that reduce corrosion and biofilms, which feed and protect Legionella bacteria.
Hire A Professional For Your Water Treatment Systems
Taking care of your water treatment systems is a critical part of staying in compliance, but it doesn’t have to be time-consuming or confusing. The experts at Tower Water specialize in helping businesses to create tailored water treatment service plans that not only keep their water systems in good condition but also comply with local and state regulations and reporting requirements.
Contact our team to learn more about how Tower Water can help you to prepare for the changes that these bills will bring, or to evaluate your system and set your structure up for success.