Bulletin 1119: Legionella Warning and Preparation


Dec 21, 2015

Chicago, IL –

Cooling towers are often cited as sources for the bacteria that causes Legionnaire’s Disease.  The risks are very real and it is well worth taking steps to protect your employees, customers and tenants from this potentially fatal species.

While the Federal Government has not established laws for the testing and control of Legionella pneumophila in cooling towers, New York recently became the first state to enact legislation.  It is likely that other states will follow their lead in the near term.

To prepare you for what might be coming, here are the primary components of New York’s mandate:

  • Cooling towers will be registered
  • Thorough (off-line) cleaning twice a year will be required twice a year
  • Testing will be required every 90 days of operation
  • There are specific mitigation/treatment procedures, starting at very low levels of detection
  • All actions will be reported and recorded with the State
  • Penalties are significant

Chardon plays an active role in the discussion about Legionella and maintains regular communication with industry leaders in research, testing and mitigation.  We will do our best to keep you informed.

We have volumes of technical information relating to this issue.  Here is some basic information that will prepare you for future legislation and guidelines.

  • While our standard biocide treatment program is considered to be a solid practice, a regular review of your equipment and your other safety controls are critically important.
  • Water movement or flow will greatly reduce the risk of bacterial growth. All dead lags, plumbing with standing water, redundant pumps should be flushed or activated regularly.
  • Legionella is very common in our environment. Cooling towers provide an ideal environment for its growth and ability to become airborne through evaporation. Maintaining your cooling tower below detection thresholds may not be entirely practical.  A control plan is critical.
  • Proper engineering and safety controls that limit access by vulnerable people to mists created by the system will provide the best protection for your facility.
  • Keeping your system clean (free of scale, sludge and other organic matter) removes the nutrients for this bacteria to grow. It’s not a guarantee of a bacteria-free system.  But, it is important.
  • Until legislation is certain, many facility owners are turning to ASHRAE 188 to create their own plans and policies. For further direction, see ASHRAE Standard 188-2015  Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems

https://www.ashrae.org/resources–publications/bookstore/ansi-ashrae-standard-188-2015-legionellosis-risk-management-for-building-water-systems

Your Chardon representative can provide additional information regarding Legionella testing and suggestions for keeping your system clean.  Please give us a call at 800.848.9526 if you’d like to schedule an appointment.