New York City Requires Immediate Cooling Tower Registration

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Following the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx, Mayor de Blasio signed into law amendments to the New York City Administrative Code in relation to the regulation of cooling towers. The legislation, which contains stiff penalties for noncompliance, requires all cooling towers to be registered with the Department of Buildings and inspected quarterly by a qualified person. In the event that a test discloses a maintenance deficiency requiring mitigation, such as an increase in microbes, building owners are mandated to report such deficiencies to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The legislation mandates the disinfection of cooling towers that are found to pose potential health risks.

The new requirements, which took effect the date that the bill was signed, require all building owners to register cooling towers through the cooling tower registration link on the Department of Building’s web site by September 17, 2015. All new cooling towers installed after that period must be registered with the Department of Building before use. Section 28-317.2 of the Administrative Code defines a “cooling tower” as a “cooling tower, evaporative condenser or fluid cooler that is part of a recirculated water system incorporated into a building’s cooling, industrial process, refrigeration, or energy production system.”

Building owners must also file an annual certification confirming compliance with the Administrative Code asserting that cooling towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected consistent with the applicable Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulations.

Cooling towers that are subject to extended shut-down for more than five days must be cleaned and disinfected within fifteen days before the use of such tower. If a cooling tower is removed or its use is permanently discontinued, the owner/operator must notify the Department of Building within thirty days and certify that the cooling tower was drained and sanitized in compliance with Health Department requirements.

Violators of registry, certification and inspection requirements are liable for civil penalties up to $10,000. A failure to disinfect towers with increased microbes is classified as a misdemeanor, punishable with fines up to $25,000.

For more information, or if you have any questions, please reach out to your WithumSmith+Brown Tax Advisor or a member of Withum’s Real Estate Services Group at info@withum.com.

John Riso John Riso, CPA
732-828-1614
jriso@withum.com

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Cooling Towers

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