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Mayor orders cooling tower registration

12993263_sUSA: With nearly 30% of cooling towers in the South Bronx legionnaires’ disease outbreak area testing positive for legionella, the Mayor has ordered compulsory registration of all sites.

According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 11 sites have tested positive for legionella out of a total of 39 cooling towers now known to be within the impact zone. Additionally, seven sites tested positive for legionella outside of the impact zone but are not necessarily related to the outbreak in the South Bronx.

Over 200 workers are said to have been deployed in the task of locating, inspecting and disinfecting all buildings with cooling towers within the boundaries of the impact zone.

With two more deaths since the weekend bringing the death toll to 12, the total number of people now known to be infected has risen to 113. Of those cases, 76 have now been discharged from hospital and no new cases have been identified since August 3.

Yesterday, New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced new legislation requiring all existing cooling towers to be registered with New York’s Department of Buildings. All new cooling towers will have to be registered with the city before it can begin operation. The bill will also require regular inspection, testing, cleaning, and disinfection, and also requires annual certification to ensure that all safety standards and procedures are being met. The Mayor promised quarterly inspections, and revealed that any potentially dangerous levels of microbes must be reported to the Department of Health.

“To the best of our understanding, there is no other model like this in the United States of America, Mayor de Blasio said yesterday. “So we were literally creating legislation for this situation for the first time. We will clearly be the first major city in America to have a particular set of laws and regulations to address the potential of this type of Legionnaires’ outbreak.”

The bill is due to go before the New York City Council for a hearing today.

In advance of the bill, the city has created a voluntary online registration database for cooling towers.

“I want to now strongly urge all building owners in New York City who have one of these cooling towers to register them with the city,” said Mayor de Blasio.

Related stories:

New York orders cooling tower treatment – August 7, 2015
USA: With the death toll in the New York legionnaires’ disease outbreak rising to 10, authorities have ordered all cooling towers within the city to be disinfected. Read more…

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