New Law Passed for Cooling Tower Owners in New York State!
On July 6th, 2016, New York State adopted a new Part 4 to Title 10 of the New York Code, Rules and Regulations entitled Protection Against Legionella. Officially known as NYCRR Title 10 Part 4: Protection Against Legionella, it is now the definitive regulation governing Legionella prevention in New York. This new legislation closely mirrors NYC’s Title 24 Chapter 8 of the Rules of the City of New York and the New York State emergency legislation that it replaces regarding legionella in cooling towers for all buildings and legionella in potable water systems for healthcare facilities throughout New York State. There are however, some significant additions and changes that NY building owners should be aware of. If you are responsible for a cooling tower in the State of New York, including the five boroughs, you are probably going to want to be familiar with this new law.
Environmental consultants and water treatment companies with clients in New York State - this post is for you as well. You get a copy of the new law via the link at the end of this post.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you own or operate a qualifying facility in New York CITY you are require to comply with BOTH the New York CITY and New York STATE Legionella Laws.
Major Differences Between the 2015 NY State Emergency Cooling Tower Legislation and New 2016 NYCRR Title 10 Part 4
While much of the initial New York State emergency cooling tower legislation has remained intact, there are a few new items in the new state law that are noteworthy. Besides Section 4.2, which is an entire section devoted to potable water in healthcare facilities, there are three areas that are perhaps the most concerning to building owners.
A copy of NYCRR Title 10 Part 4 Protection Against Legionella can be downloaded in its entirety at the end of this blog post.
Here are some of our thoughts regarding the new policies:
§ 4-1.5 Legionella culture analysis.
All Legionella culture analyses must be performed by a laboratory that is approved to perform such analysis by the New York State Environmental Laboratory Approval Program (ELAP).
Comment: This means that sending a legionella sample to CDC Elite Certified Lab is no longer sufficient. As of July 6th, 2016, your legionella testing samples must be analyzed by an ELAP Certified lab.
If you would like to have your lab certified to handle New York State legionella tests that meet the NYCRR Title 10 Part 4 requirements, you should visit the NY State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center website (www.wadsworth.org).
Questions on certification for Legionella culture analysis can be sent to [email protected]
§ 4-1.6 Notification.
(a) The owner of a cooling tower shall notify the local health department within 24 hours of receipt of a Legionella culture sample result that exceeds 1,000 Colony forming units (CFU) per milliliter. The local health department shall notify the state department of health with 24 hours of receipt of such a report.
(b) The owner shall notify the public of such test results in a manner determined by the local health department or, in the event that the department elects to determine the manner of public notification, by the department.
Comment: Notifying the local health department was not part of the original emergency legislation at the state level. It was and is part of the Rules of the City of New York. Subsection (a) of this section may not seem out of line when it comes to public safety, but Subsection (b) might make some building owners cringe if their legionella culture analysis comes back high.
Subsection (b) requires a building owner to notify the public of any test result that exceeds 1,000 colony forming units. If this happens, the local health department may determine the manner in which a building owner must disseminate this information; but that could include a letter to every tenant, a public notice in the local paper, or a large poster hung publicly at the building location.
There is little doubt that a high culture test result will probably cause big headaches, as well as increased liability, for building management.
§ 4-1.10 Enforcement.
(a) The department or local health department may require any owner to conduct Legionella culture sampling and analysis, following a determination, based upon epidemiologic data or laboratory testing, that one or more cases of legionellosis are or may be associated with a cooling tower.
(b) An officer or employee of the department or local health department may enter onto any property to inspect a cooling tower for compliance with the requirements of this Subpart, in accordance with applicable law, and may take water samples as part of such inspections.
(c) Where an owner does not register, obtain certification, disinfect, perform or obtain culture sampling and analysis, or inspect a cooling tower within the time and manner set forth in this Subpart, the department or local health department may determine that such condition constitutes a nuisance and may take such action as authorized by law. The department or local health department may also take any other action authorized by law.
(d) A violation of any provision of this Subpart is subject to all civil and criminal penalties as provided for by law. Each day that an owner remains in violation of any provision of this Subpart shall constitute a separate and distinct violation of such provision.
Comment: This section has remained relatively unchanged; however, it does give the additional provision in subsection (a) that the local or state health department can require any owner to conduct a Legionella culture test if they determine that there is case of legionellosis associated with one of the owner’s cooling towers.
Furthermore, it is important to note that in subsection (d) the law clarifies that for each day that an owner remains in violation of any provision of the Subparts this legionella law, it shall constitute a separate and distinct violation of such provision; meaning violations and penalties can easily stack up quickly.
Other Important Things to Note about NYCRR Title 10 Part 4
The new law requires owners to obtain a (or update their existing) cooling tower maintenance program and plan for all operational cooling towers (also known as a Water Management Plan) by September 1, 2016, and prior to the startup of newly installed cooling towers. This won’t be an issue for most New York City building owners. They needed to have their plans in place by March 1st, 2016.
There is a new provision that requires cleaning and disinfection of a cooling tower that has been shut down without treatment for more than five days. Also, the term disinfection has been further defined as to mean the control of microorganisms or microbial growth. The term “disinfection” is also clarified to exclude the cleaning of a cooling tower through application of detergents, penetrants, brushes or other tools, high-powered water. So according to the new law, merely “cleaning” a cooling tower does not disinfect it. Disinfection MUST involve the use of a pesticide, and therefore, must be supervised by a person that holds a NY State 7G Commercial Pesticide Applicators License.
As I mentioned earlier, Section 4.2 of the law is entirely devoted to healthcare facilities and their requirements for legionella testing their potable water systems. This section also requires healthcare facilities to undergo an Environmental Assessment (as per § 4-2.3) by filling out an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF). Ultimately, every healthcare facility in New York must adopt and implement a Legionella culture sampling and management plan for their potable water systems by December 1st, 2016.
What do I need to do about legionella today?
According to NYCRR Title 10 Part 4, if you are a building owner in the state of New York, you must take preventative measures to combat legionella in your cooling towers. Furthermore, if you operate a healthcare facility in the state of New York, you must also take preventative measures to address potential legionella in your potable water systems. If your property is located in New York City, the New York State cooling tower law still applies to you; however, you may already be in compliance with many of the requirements if you are adhering to the New York City Legionella Prevention Law - Chapter 8 to Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York.
The first step is having a comprehensive water management plan for legionella. This is a requirement of the New York State Legionella Law and must be accomplished by September 1, 2016. In NYC, this was a requirement of the city’s cooling tower law that was effective by March 1st, 2016. You do not need two separate water management plans for the city and the state. One plan should satisfy the requirements of both laws.
IMPORTANT: It is now part of New Yok State and New York City law; you MUST register your cooling tower(s) on the City and State Cooling Tower Registration websites.
If you need assistance with a water management plan (cooling tower maintenance program and plan), or any other water treatment services, please contact us at Clarity Water Technologies. We help facilities all over New York stay compliant.
Thanks for reading!
PS - Download your copy of the new NY State Legionella Law here:
ABOUT CLARITY WATER TECHNOLOGIES
Clarity Water Technologies is known throughout the east coast as an innovative industrial/commercial water treatment company and the innovators of 360 Degree Legionella Management Service. To put it simply: As New York City's Top Environmental Consultants, we make commercial HVAC and industrial process machinery last longer and run more efficiently, with less fuel and less downtime, by chemically treating the water that runs through it. Typical systems that we treat include steam boilers, chillers and cooling towers; however, we also offer advanced wastewater, glycol services, odor control and fuel treatment services. We are one of Northeast’s most trusted Legionella remediation companies and are widely accepted as one of the best consulting firms to establish best practices for the implementation of ASHRAE Standard 188 - Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.
As environmental consultants specializing in water treatment, we know that chemistry is only one part of what makes a cooling tower system operate at peak performance. The other part of the equation is proper physical cleaning, disinfection and maintenance. Today, Clarity offers one of the most reliable and effective cooling tower disinfection services available throughout NY, NJ, CT, DE, MD and PA. Clarity is a NADCA Certified HVAC Cleaning Service Company. Our team also offers on-line cleanings, chlorine dioxide disinfection, Legionella remediation and installation of the EcoSAFE Solid Feed System—one of the most advanced water treatment systems for Cooling Towers in the world! Please contact us today for a free estimate on your next project.
New York Water Treatment Professional and Environmental Consultant, Greg Frazier has a vast knowledge of Industrial Water Treatment and is currently the Managing Partner of Clarity Water Technologies, one of the top Water Treatment Companies in the United States. Mr. Frazier has over 19 years of Industrial Water Treatment experience and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee. Clarity Water Technologies specializes in comprehensive water treatment services. Clarity's service goes far beyond administering Cooling Tower Water Treatment chemicals - it also includes Cooling Tower Maintenance and HVAC Cleaning Services.