Aug 17, 2015

New York City Adopts Part of ASHRAE Legionella Standard

New legislation requires owners to create and file a plan to maintain equipment to comply with Section 7.2 of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems

Legionella ASHRAE standard building cooling systems

With 12 confirmed dead and more than 120 cases of infection due to legionellosis, the New York City Council on Aug. 13, 2015, adopted legislation that requires adherence to part of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE) newly published Legionella standard.

The legislation addresses registration and inspection of cooling towers. It requires owners to create and file a plan to maintain equipment to comply with Section 7.2 of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.

The standard provides minimum Legionellosis risk management requirements for the design, construction, commissioning, operation, maintenance, repair, replacement and expansion of new and existing buildings and their associated water systems and components. 

“Standard 188 was published just two short months ago,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said. “Although the circumstances surrounding its use are tragic, ASHRAE is grateful that the standard is available to set requirements to manage risk of this bacteria. We are hopeful other governments will follow the lead of the New York City Council to help safeguard public health.”

Michael Patton, a member of the committee that wrote the standard, testified before the council earlier this week on behalf of ASHRAE. He spoke to the council’s proposal to adopt Section 7.2, noting that other sections also would play a role in reducing risks. Section 7.2 lists common tasks and steps for items such as new system startup and seasonal shutdowns, general system maintenance, water treatment, disinfection plans, etc. 

While Patton encouraged full adoption of the standard, he said it was helpful that at least Section 7.2 was included. Patton was thanked by chairman Jumaane Williams for making himself and ASHRAE available so quickly.

“Section 7 is very good by itself,” Patton testified, “but it doesn't really address the whole idea of informing building owners, managers [and] property managers how to put a plan for a whole building into place and what it should contain.”

Underwood said ASHRAE will continue its work in getting the full standard adopted in New York City and in other locations.

Specific requirements in the standard include:

  • Minimum Legionellosis risk management requirements for buildings and their associated potable and non-potable water systems;
  • Establishment by building owners of a program team and (in turn) a water management program for which they are responsible in order to comply with the standard; and
  • Provision of specific and detailed requirements for what Legionellosis control strategies must accomplish and how they are to be documented—but, does not provide (or place restrictions on) which specific strategies are to be used or applied.

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