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UL Helps Building Owners Prevent Cooling Tower Related Legionnaires’ Disease

Cooling Tower.
May 10, 2018

“Many of the Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented…Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives.”

- Tom Frieden, Director Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Building owners need a reliable way to prevent their cooling tower systems from making headlines due to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which has seen cases quadruple since 2000. The disease results from inhaling bacteria in microscopic water droplets, such as those released from cooling towers.

While inspection, cleaning, and disinfection of onsite cooling towers can help, the most effective way to prevent an outbreak is with a thorough Maintenance Program and Plan (MPP).

In June 2015, the American Society of Heating , Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers published ANSI/ASHRAE 188-2015, Legionellosis Risk Management for Building Water Systems. The first industry-consensus standard for managing building water systems to prevent Legionnaires’ disease, ASHRAE- 188 established a new Standard-of-Care.

Due to a deadly outbreak in 2015, both New York City and New York state also created requirements for the maintenance of cooling towers. All of these require that a MPP is developed, implemented, and documented. Failure to meet the rules can result in fines. As a result of these new reqiurements, UL has launched a comprehensive, practical, and efficient way of working with building owners to assure cooling towers are maintained in a way that meets the new Standard-of-Care.

Participants in UL’s program will have one on-site and three off-site audits each year. During the audit, UL will not only confirm that the building’s MPP meets the new Standard-of-Care and local regulations but also that the MPP is continually being followed. After each audit, UL will issue a report detailing compliance to the protocol and any related regulations as well as opportunities for improvement.

Through this new program UL offers a solution for building owners who struggle to navigate the different requirements. By partnering with UL, building owners and managers will reduce the likelihood of an outbreak, protect their brand, avoid fines, minimize litigation, and prevent costly business interruptions.

For questions or comments contact Amanda Fisher, Business Development Manager for UL’s Water Program at [email protected].

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