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In its all-out war against the mighty legionella bacteria, New York has passed sweeping legislation regarding cooling towers over the past year. One of the upcoming deadlines in New York City and State regarding compliance is the portion of the laws that require annual cooling tower certification. In the State of New York, building owners and property managers must annually certify that their cooling towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in compliance with New York State Legionella Law - Part 4 of Title 10: Protection Against Legionella. New York City has their own version of this law that must also be followed by building owner that operate a cooling tower with the five boroughs of NYC; the requirements of which are spelled out in Local Law 77 of 2015 and Chapter 8 (Cooling Towers) of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York.

The City and State requirements are similar but they are not that same and there is one MAJOR difference that makes the whole process more difficult and potentially more costly. And there one more small thing ? all of the City and State Certifications are DUE BY NOVEMBER 1st 2016! But don?t worry; this post will take the guesswork out of what you need to and how you need to do it. (And for those of you that just can?t stand to read another article about the NY cooling tower laws - yes, water treatment companies like ours can help you.)

The Difference Between the CITY and STATE Requirements for Cooling Tower Annual Certification

First let?s discuss what is the same: Both the City and State require a building owner to certify that their cooling towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the City and/or State laws. (PS - There are big fines for skimping on your twice yearly cooling tower cleaning in NYC.)

Why ?and/or???

Because if your cooling tower is located in New York City, you MUST comply with the State law as well.

Neither the City nor the State explicitly says how an annual certification should be written. At the time of this posting (a mere 13 days before the November 1st deadline) there has been no approved template or document from either the City or the State that gives guidance on exactly what they want to see and how they want it presented.

The New York City Legionella Laws say that the building owner must file a certification indicating that the ?tower was inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the maintenance program and plan (MPP).?? It goes further to say that ?The certification must document any deviations from compliance with the MPP and the corrective actions taken to address any deficiencies.??

The New York State Legionella Law says that a cooling tower owner must certify that their cooling tower has a maintenance program in place, and that all activities within that plan or required by the law have been implemented, including all bacteriological culture sampling and analysis (dipslide tests), all Legionella culture sampling and analysis, all cleaning & disinfections and all inspections that were performed throughout the most recent year.

As you can see, the City and State requirements are generally pretty similar ? they both are trying to determine if you are following sound cooling tower Water Treatment Chemicals treatment practices ? BUT there is one big difference in the STATE REQUIREMENTS that effects BOTH the City and State. While the City law implies that the a cooling tower own may certify their tower by preparing their own document and uploading it to the City Registration Website, the State law orders that cooling tower owners obtain certification from a ?qualified person,?? which is defined as a New York State licensed professional engineer, certified industrial hygienist, certified water technologist, environmental consultant or water treatment professional.

So to be clear ? to be in compliance with both the City and State Cooling Tower Laws, all NY Cooling Tower owners MUST obtain a certification from a ?qualified professional.?? (Please review the highlighted excerpts from the City and State Legionella Laws below that establish this point.)

The City website asks that an actual certification document that demonstrates that the building owner?s acknowledgement and declaration of compliance with the City?s law be uploaded through the DOB hosted website; however, at the time of this post, the State?s DOH website does not have the capability to upload an actual document. Instead the State?s website asks for building owners to log into the State cooling tower website and enter the following information through their online forms:

Equipment Maintenance Details

Whether systematic disinfection is maintained manually, through timed injection, or through continuous delivery

The name of the contractor or employee engaged to inspect and certify the cooling tower

The commissioning date of the cooling tower

The date of last routine culture sample collection, sample results, and date of any required remedial action

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The date of any legionella sample collection, sample results, and date of any required remedial action

The date of the tower?s last cleaning and disinfection

The dates of start and end of any shutdown that lasts for more than five days

The date that the last certification was completed and date when it was due

The date of the last inspection and date when it was due

If applicable, the date of discontinued use

Please note: Even though the State does not at this time have the capability of uploading a third party certification, the building owner is still required to obtain one and keep it on file on location.

NY Cooling Tower Registration Websites

You are going to need to log into both the City and State Cooling Tower Registration Websites in order to submit your Annual Certification of NY Cooling Towers. Here are links to the websites:

New York City Cooling Tower Registration Website

New York State Cooling Tower Registration Website

New York Laws Pertaining to Annual Cooling Tower Registration for the City and State

Both New York City and New York State require a building owner to annually certify their cooling towers however the City and State laws have separate requirements that must be met. Here are the excerpts from all of the New York Legionella Laws that pertain to Annual Certification:

From Chapter 8 (Cooling Towers) of Title 24 of the Rules of the City of New York

8-07 Records.

(a) Records. An owner must keep for at least three (3) years in the building where a cooling tower is located or in an adjacent building or structure on the same campus, complex, lot, mall or on-site central engineering division a record of any maintenance, inspection, deficiency, corrective action, water treatment, test result, cleaning or disinfection performed on the tower.

(b) Certification. The owner of a cooling tower must file an annual certification each year as specified by the Department of Buildings, indicating that such tower was inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in accordance with the maintenance program and plan, as required by ? 28-317.5 (see Local Law 77 below) of the Administrative Code. The certification must document any deviations from compliance with the maintenance program and plan and the corrective actions taken to address any deficiencies.

(c) Posting. The owner must post the Department of Buildings Cooling Tower Registration Number that has been assigned to that cooling tower on each cooling tower.
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