NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio along with New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and New York City Council Members today announced a proposal for legislation to regulate cooling towers in order to protect New Yorkers and reduce the risk of future Legionnaires’ outbreaks.
The legislation is the first in the nation to provide for detailed requirements and oversight, including mandatory registration, testing and inspections of cooling towers, and sanctions for failure to comply with new standards.
Its provisions are designed to ensure adherence to industry standards for maintenance, cleaning and testing for microbes, and reporting of samples that present a serious health threat to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
“We are confident the Legionnaires’ outbreak in the South Bronx has been contained, and are working with our partners in the City Council to protect the entire city in the long-term through stringent new regulations for building owners,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New York is the first major city in the nation to propose new registration, inspection, and enforcement standards for the cooling towers which harbor Legionnaires’ bacteria. This action reflects our chief priority: to safeguard the health of New Yorkers.”
“This legislation will create new registration, maintenance and inspection requirements for cooling towers and will give the City the information and tools it needs to enforce them. The City, under Dr. Mary Bassett, and state and federal governments, have all been working together during this outbreak and this legislation is a critical part of our efforts to proactively combat such outbreaks in the future,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.
“We must do all that we can to prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “By proposing unprecedented standards and oversight for cooling tower inspections, we are leading the way in reducing the risk of future outbreaks. This legislation is an important step we can take to further protect the health of New Yorkers.”
An additional two deaths due to the bacterial disease bring the total to 12. There has been a total of 113 case reported in the past month.