Sanitation Foundation Addresses Water Health in Cooling Towers

10/23/2017 |

5,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year in the United States

A new protocol from global health organization, NSF International, uses the water safety plan approach recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify potential hazards and establish control measures to prevent the growth of Legionella bacteria.

NSF International published this new protocol as part of its commitment to improve building water health in a new standard NSF P453: Cooling Towers — Treatment, Operation, and Maintenance to Prevent Legionellosis.

The protocol can be utilized by facility managers to create a management plan for the treatment, operation and maintenance of cooling tower water systems, in large part to reduce risks of Legionella.

“5,000 cases of Legionnaires’ disease are reported each year in the United States, which unfortunately include some deaths,” says Dave Purkiss, general manager, Water Systems, NSF International. “The NSF P453 protocol establishes effective monitoring and cleanliness plans to improve building water health and reduce the number of illnesses and deaths caused by these dangerous bacteria.”

NSF P453 allows owners and managers of buildings with cooling tower water systems to create an easy-to-follow, actionable plan with specific means and methods to manage the risk of Legionnaires’ disease.

It complies with the New York City and state regulations for cooling towers, which were put together after the Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the summer of 2015. The outbreak in New York City that summer killed 12 people and sickened over 100 more.

Cooling towers are not regulated beyond New York state, but NSF P453 can be applied across the United States to prevent Legionellosis and other diseases associated with cooling tower water systems.

For more information on NSF International’s building water health related programs, see the organization’s Water and Wastewater Web page. For more information on Legionellosis, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Web site.


Additonal Coverage on Legionella

How to Protect Against Legionella

9 Ways to Avoid Legionella

CDC Launches Legionella Toolkit

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