New regulatory requirements commencing from 1 January 2018 now apply to the management of cooling towers in NSW. The amendments to the Public Health Regulations 2012 have been made in response to outbreaks of Legionnaires' disease in Sydney during 2016. The regulatory reforms follow the establishment of an expert panel and government taskforce to address the issue and a comprehensive consultation period.
In addition, further regulatory controls to mitigate the risk of legionella in cooling tower systems are anticipated to be introduced in the coming months.
What are the new requirements?
The amendments to the regulations require the occupier of a premises with a cooling tower to:
- Undertake monthly testing of the cooling tower water for the presence of Legionella bacteria and Heterotrophic Colony Count (HCC)
- Report test results that exceed the following 'reportable test results' to the relevant local council within 24 hours:
- Legionella counts ≥ 1,000 cfu/ml; or
- HCC levels ≥ 5,000,000 cfu/ml.
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