NYC Cooling Tower Regulations

The City of New York recently passed Local Law 77 of 2015 which requires owners and operators of cooling towers to take certain actions.

People are exposed to Legionella bacteria through the inhalation or aspiration of aerosolized water (droplets or mist) that contain the bacteria. The State Public Health and Health Planning Council (PHHPC) cited other instances of LD outbreaks and fatalities occurring in other parts of the State that are believed to be associated with cooling towers.

Local Law 77 added a new Article 317 to Title 28 of the Administrative Code that required owners of cooling towers to register them with the Department of Buildings (“DOB”) by September 17, 2015. Towers must be inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in accordance with new administrative codes and rules adopted by the Department. Owners and operators of cooling towers must annually certify to DOB that their cooling towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected and that a maintenance program and plan has been developed and implemented in accordance with codes. Statewide, including in New York City, owners of all cooling towers must also comply, which includes registration with and reporting to the State Department of Health.

Since the announcement, there has been some confusion on the specific mandates that have been established by NYC, so here are the main points you need to know:

 

Registration:

New Cooling Towers must be registered with the NYC Dept. of Buildings prior to use.

Existing Cooling Towers must be registered no later than September 17, 2015.

You can access the NYC Cooling Tower Registration Portal by clicking here.

 

 

Inspection & Testing:

Towers are to be inspected every 3 months while in use.

Cooling Towers that have been shut down for more than 5 days must be cleaned and disinfected within 15 days before initial use.

Water Treatment alone does not satisfy these NYC Requirements.

 

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