Written by Jack Glass, Vice President of Environmental Health Services, June 2018
Hard to believe that it is the middle of July and some NYC cooling towers are just coming on-line. It has been a very unique spring! I hope everyone is up to speed with the testing and maintenance regulations of both New York City and state, but if not, here is a quick primer.
First of all, every cooling tower must be registered with both City and State.This registration can be done online, and once received, the registration number must be prominently posted on the tower. Keep in mind that this must be a durable posting, you can't just tape a laminated copy to the side.
Next, you hire your treatment company. There are many fine companies throughout the region that are able to provide you chemicals and the dosing equipment to inject them into the tower water. These chemicals are what keeps the water flowing and kills the bacteria.
But you need to have more than just chemicals. The tower has to be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected twice a year. This insures that all of the parts and basins are free of bacteria harboring debris, and that scale is not restricting the flow of your tower water.
Lastly, you need your consulting firm. These are folks that come out 3 times per week to test the water, conduct weekly checks on the system, and collects quarterly legionella samples.
Even with all of these safeguards, NYC has already had its first Legionnaires Disease Outbreak. Just last week 1 person died and 6 more were hospitalized in an outbreak centered on the upper east side of Manhattan. while not confirmed, it is believed, and highly likely, that the source of the bacteria is a local cooling tower. The NYC DOHMH inspectors are out in full force to verify that the towers are not only operating properly, but that the mountains of paperwork are all in order.
If you're not sure where you stand with your cooling towers, it is not too late to get them in compliance and safe.