New York City Local Law 77 made history as the first comprehensive piece of legislation in a major metropolitan center to address the maintenance of water cooling towers as a means to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria and reduce the cases of Legionnaires’ disease, which have been on a steep rise in recent years.
Despite this pivotal step toward the effective management of such a serious health concern, elected officials recognized the need for even stronger regulations to better safeguard the public.
The push to enhance pre-existing mandates was led by NYC Councilman Ben Kallos, who grew concerned by both the continued increase in often-fatal Legionnaires' cases in New York City since Local Law 77 first went into effect in 2015, and the number of buildings violating its rules despite receiving fines.
“Landlords who should be doing everything they can to protect their tenants and their neighbors may not be,” he told WNYC. "They're putting everyone's lives on the line."
The New York City Council approved the legislation on March 28, voting to amend the city's administrative code to increase the frequency and visibility of cooling tower maintenance reporting.
Local Law 77 requires the "registration, inspection, cleaning, disinfection and testing of all New York City cooling towers," states a downloadable data sheet from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH). Among other stipulations, it demands building owners annually certify they are in compliance, and they must create routine, long-term maintenance procedures for their cooling towers.
The new legislation requires the DOHMH to send operators and owners of cooling towers an electronic reminder prior to the filing deadline for annual certifications, along with a link to where these can be submitted. It mandates cooling tower inspectors to report inspection results to the department in real time, and also make these available to the public.
Such updates underscore to owners and managers that failure to adhere to any local orders pertaining to the regulation of cooling towers in safeguarding the public will not only result in significant fines, but also any potential losses incurred from the disclosure of non-compliance, such as less patrons, for example.
The new requirements will have no impact on Vitralogy or its clients, however, since we ensure complete compliance.
Our team of engineers and Legionella experts developed our platform with evolution in mind, understanding that the future of Legionella Compliance is dynamic. This enables our innovative technology to easily adapt to any unexpected shifts.