Legionnaires' disease is an infection of the lungs (pneumonia) caused by bacteria of the Legionella family. Legionella is found in moist environments and becomes a problem when dispersed into the air as an aerosol. Water cooling systems used to cool the air in large buildings need to be monitored to control Legionella.
It is a legal requirement for all owners and/or occupiers of buildings who install and operate a cooling tower or warm-water system (regulated system) to notify Council. This also includes any changes to the system when any of the following occurs:
- a new system is installed on a premises
- there is a change of owner or occupier for a building on which a system is located
- the system is modified (for example, cooling towers added or removed)
- the contact details for the building manager changes and the system is decommissioned.
Council has an obligation under Section 4 of the Public Health Act 2010 to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with regulation of cooling water systems. these measures include:
- regularly inspecting systems in their area to ensure compliance with the Regulation
- investigating systems with reportable test results of Legionella count ≥1,000 cfu/mL or HCC ≥5,000,000 cfu/mL
- investigating systems with an audit demonstrating non-compliance
- following up systems with overdue certificates of Risk Management Plan (RMP) completion and audit completion
- identifying unregistered systems
- assisting Public Health Units during a Legionnaires’ disease outbreak investigation
- using authorised officers’ powers to enforce compliance with the Regulation.
Under the Regulation, Council must also:
- maintain a register of all cooling water systems in their local government area
- receive notifications of installation or a change in particulars (including decommissioning) of systems in their area
- issue a unique identification number for each cooling tower in their area
- receive notifications of reportable test results of Legionella count ≥1,000 cfu/mL or HCC ≥5,000,000 cfu/mL
- receive certificates of RMP completion and audit completion.
To report a high test result for Legionella please contact Council as soon as possible on 1300 345 345.
In addition to this you will also have to complete the standard notification of reportable test results form from the NSW Health website and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.