Legionnaire's disease outbreaks have been putting the state of New York in such a massive health dilemma. Now, officials approved a new set of rules to prevent the further spread of the disease.
On Monday, Aug 17, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York will be following new emergency health regulations, which necessitate the inspection and testing of cooling towers in the buildings throughout the state. This is in response to the outbreak of Legionnaire's disease that killed a total of 12 individuals. The office of Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor, was said to be consulted as the newly enacted protocols were written.
The Clarity Water Technologies personnel have been busy for the past days, cleaning and disinfecting various cooling towers all around the city, reports Tony Aiello from CBS2. According to the staff, these days have been the most hustling period anyone could ever remember. "Getting rid of the nutrient sources so that legionnella which comes in city water has nothing to feed off of," says Dominick Tuzz from Clarity Water Technologies.
Part of the regulations is the routine testing of the cooling towers every 90 days. The owners of the buildings must also devise a maintenance program, which should be coordinated with the legislation of the City Council. Coming up with a plan for testing drinking water Legionella has also been included as an additional requirement for hospitals and nursing homes. All the cooling towers must be certified by Nov.21, 2015. Officers and authorities from the concerned departments may inspect buildings to see if the management has been complying with the set regulations. The new regulations also come with sanctions, just like any other laws in the state. Offenders will be subjected to civil and criminal liabilities as appropriate.
In Bronx, various cases that resulted in the biggest outbreak in the history of New York City have been noted. Authorities believe that the cooling towers were the main sources of the Legionella bacteria. A total of 21 cases of Legionnaire's disease were diagnosed in Bronx alone.
In Erie County, 30 people were diagnosed with the disease. Some of these cases have always been associated with cooling towers at the top of buildings.
Clarity Water Technologies have been getting signs from Connecticut and New Jersey states, where their services might be needed. With this, there is a great possibility that the same regulations will be applied to other states as well.
Photo: Phillip Grondin | Flickr