Call for Auckland building owners to shock-dose and register their cooling towers

Issue 38 – May 2012

Auckland Council (the Council) and the Auckland Regional Public Health Service are making significant progress in their campaign to ensure that no cooling tower in the region is able to harbour harmful legionella bacteria.

Working with building owners, independently-qualified ventilation specialists, and water treatment engineers, the council has identified 650 buildings with a cooling tower.

To date, most have been shock-dosed with a biocide. The council is continuing to contact those owners who have not yet confirmed that all cooling towers on their premises have been shock-dosed.

Recently a letter was sent to over 15,000 commercial building owners requesting that if they have a cooling tower, they contact the Auckland Council.

Auckland Council Manager of Building Control, Ian McCormick says, 'We want building owners with cooling towers that are part of a mechanical ventilation system or industrial plant equipment, to contact us directly or through their water treatment supplier.

'We will be asking owners to confirm what their system is and that they have shock-dosed it. Having done so, owners should have it tested for the presence of legionella within 3 to 7 days, to confirm that any bacteria that may have been present has been killed.'

Water treatment providers can advise owner/managers on the procedure.

McCormick says, 'Let us know when dosing has been carried out – this will also ensure we can monitor the situation effectively and maintain a permanent regional database for the future.

'The response we have had so far has been great, but it's important that all building owners do their part to avoid the potential for infection.'

Recently Auckland Regional Public Health Service has been notified of 12 cases of this particular strain of Legionnaires' disease across the Auckland region, jumping from an average of zero to one case for a typical month, including one death linked to the disease.

Legionnaires' disease cannot be passed from person to person and the current strain can only be contracted directly from inhaling water droplets from a contaminated source.

Summarised from an Auckland Council media release, 24 April 2012.

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