Since the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in New York City a few years back, there has been a great deal of concern and confusion about what’s required for proper cooling tower maintenance.
With many NYC buildings preparing to reopen after being unoccupied for months due to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is concern about making sure cooling towers are restarted safely and properly maintained prior to building occupation.
According to CDC guidance, “The temporary shutdown or reduced operation of a building and reductions in normal water use can create hazards for returning occupants. Two potential microbial hazards that should be considered prior to reopening after a period of building inactivity are mold and Legionella (the cause of Legionnaire’s Disease).”
As a building owner, you want to keep your building occupants safe from dangerous mold and bacteria as well as coronavirus. If you’re in New York City, you must make sure you stay in compliance with NYC’s recent updates to regulations.
New York City has recently released “COVID-19 Interim Guidance on NYC Cooling Tower Regulations,” which contains startup procedures and requirements for cleaning tower maintenance prior to reopening buildings. An alternative cleaning process is provided for cleaning towers that have been fully cleaned and disinfected within the past 6 months. Otherwise, the general startup process must be completed no later than 15 days prior to first use.
Here’s an updated cooling tower maintenance checklist aligned with the current regulations.