Government agencies and industry
groups advising building operators
to maintain their water systems to
minimize Legionella is nothing new.
However, in the last few months, the
warnings have become louder and the
consequences more serious.
This increased urgency started to
build in June 2015, when ASHRAE
released the final version of its
Legionella standard, ANSI/ASHRAE
188-2015. The new standard reached
consensus among government agencies
and industry groups, not only about
the need for Legionella prevention in
building water systems, but also about
how to approach it – namely, imple-
menting a written plan for managing
building water systems. ASHRAE
outlined essential components that
a water management program must
have, including procedures for validat-
ing the effectiveness of the plan in con-
trolling Legionella bacteria.
Just a few days later, in July 2015,
an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease
in New York City killed 12 people and
sickened 120. City and state officials
responded quickly by adopting emergency ASHRAE 188-related regulations
for minimizing Legionella risk associated with cooling towers.
The prevention train picked up speed
in 2016. New York City and state updated their regulations and made them
6 Questions to Test Your
Legionella threatens risk of disease, lawsuits and brand damage
permanent. In June, the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
reports about the rise in Legionnaires’
disease cases and the need for better
building water management caught
the attention of the mainstream media,
which immediately published stories
highlighting the responsibility of building owners and managers.
BOMA issued a statement as well,
announcing that the CDC “asks build-
ing owners and managers to adopt
newly published standards that pro-
mote Legionella water management.”
How are you doing with risk man-
agement related to your water sys-
tems? Test your program with the fol-
lowing six questions.
Have you checked your water management policies within the last 12 months?
The bar for protecting your building occupants from Legionella and other
waterborne pathogens has risen a few notches. Falling short can affect your
organization’s image, legal risk and even your career.