New regulations intended to protect against Legionella in cooling towers and healthcare facilities in New York State are now in effect. The regulations require that New York cooling towers be registered, inspected, and tested for Legionella, a bacterium that can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious respiratory illness that can result in life-threatening pneumonia and can be fatal for people with pre-existing medical conditions. The regulation specifies that inspections must be performed by certain professionals, including certified industrial hygienists.
Under the new rules, all general hospitals and residential healthcare facilities will also be required to perform Legionella culture sampling and analysis of their drinking water systems. According to the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), these new regulations are based on emergency regulations put in place during summer 2015, when 138 residents of the South Bronx were sickened with legionellosis, a respiratory disease caused by Legionella. Sixteen people died during the outbreak.
In June, CDC released guidance intended to help building owners and managers prevent the conditions that lead to Legionella growth in water systems.
AIHA’s guideline, Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems, is available for purchase in the AIHA Marketplace. An article introducing the guideline appeared in the June/July 2015 issue of The Synergist.