Legionnaires disease and regulated systems
Legionnaires' disease is an infection of the lung caused by the Legionella bacteria. The bacteria causes a form of pneumonia and it can be fatal. Legionella growth can be controlled by proper water treatment procedures and regular cleaning.
Cooling towers and warm water systems have become known as 'regulated systems' due to the fact they are regulated by the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012. Proper installation, maintenance and cleaning of all 'regulated systems' is a legal requirement of the building owners and occupiers.
Regulated systems include:
- Water cooling towers (for air conditioning or industrial applications)
- Evaporative coolers (attached to non-residential premises)
- Humidifying systems (for agricultural or industrial applications)
- Warm water systems (including but not limited to thermostatic mixing valves in hospitals).
Regulated systems can be inspected at any time and building occupiers who fail to meet the requirements are liable to heavy fines or even imprisonment.
Council is required by law to keep a register of water cooling and warm water systems.
Owners or occupiers of premises with water cooling systems, and hospital warm water systems installed must notify and register with Council.
Please complete either the registration of regulated warm water systems form or the registration of regulated water cooling systems and submit to Council by posting to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or emailing email@example.com
Council officers will review and record all information submitted in the Register of Regulated Systems and may undertake individual site inspections.
All water cooling systems can only be operated if they are equipped with a process designed to control microbial growth and only if the process is in continuous operation and certified annually.
All regulated systems are required to be equipped with an operating and maintenance manual which includes details of inspections and services performed. Manuals and records must be kept on site.
A copy of the annual certificate of disinfection along with records of services and cleaning must be submitted to Council by posting to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: only a 'duly qualified' contractor can be engaged to install, operate and maintain regulated systems. The Office of Fair Trading licenses contractors who undertake this work.
If a cooling tower or water cooling system is no longer in operation on your site it must be decommissioned by a licensed contractor. The Office of Fair Trading licenses contractors who undertake this work.
Once removed you should receive a decommissioning certificate which is required to be submitted to Council by posting to PO Box 220, Maitland NSW 2320 or emailing email@example.com, so that the water cooling system can be removed from the register of regulated systems.
Find out more on the NSW Health website about what building owners and occupiers can do for Legionnaires Disease Control. You can also access the NSW Public Health Act 2010 or the NSW Public Health Regulation 2012.