August 18, 2015 / 7:50 PM / 3 years ago

NYC mayor signs cooling tower rules into law after deadly outbreak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed an unprecedented law regulating cooling towers throughout the city on Tuesday following an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease that killed 12 people in the city’s South Bronx area.

Patients depart from Lincoln Medical Center where a cooling tower has been tested and disinfected following a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires' disease in the South Bronx region, New York August 7, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

City health officials said the outbreak, which sickened 124 people, was caused by Legionella bacteria in several air conditioning cooling towers in the area.

The new law requires building owners to inspect all cooling towers quarterly and to report and disinfect towers that have dangerous levels of bacteria.

Building owners have 30 days to register their cooling towers. Those who don’t comply with the law could be fined up to $25,000, according to a city press release.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media during a news conference to introduce legislation intended to reduce the risk of Legionnaire's disease in New York August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz

“This law changes the future of how the city of New York contends with this disease. And it served as a model for the new statewide regulations that were just formalized,” de Blasio said.

On Monday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled similar statewide regulations, requiring building owners to register, test and inspect all cooling towers and disinfect them when necessary.

“This summer’s outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease caused concern in communities across the state, and today we are moving forward to help prevent future outbreaks and keep our neighborhoods safe,” Cuomo said in a statement.

De Blasio said the city is still working to identify every cooling tower in the city, all of which were ordered to be disinfected as a precautionary measure amid the outbreak.

There have been no new cases of Legionnaires’ disease since Aug. 3, city health officials said.

Reporting by Katie Reilly; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Sandra Maler

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below