New York City Department of Buildings Announces New Law Effective Immediately for New York City Building Owners Requiring Registration of Cooling Towers

On August 18, 2015, Rick Chandler, Commissioner of New York City Department of Buildings (DOB), announced a new law effective immediately requiring building owners to register their cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers.  Failure to do so can result in enforcement action by the DOB including the issuance of violations with associated monetary penalties. This is a result of the recent outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx.  This law will enable the City to track where this equipment is located and how it is maintained.

According to a letter issued by DOB Commissioner Rick Chandler, New York City building owners must comply with the following mandatory requirements:

Registration of New and Existing Equipment

-Register existing cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with the Department of Buildings within 30 days of the law’s enactment.

-Register new cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with the Department of Buildings prior to initial operation.

Certification of Existing Equipment and Discontinuance of Use

-Annually certify to the Department of Buildings that cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers have been inspected, tested and remediated in accordance with the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene regulations, and that a maintenance program and plan has been developed and implemented.

-Notify the Department of Buildings within 30 days of removing or permanently discontinuing cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers with a statement that the cooling tower was cleaned and sanitized in compliance with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene requirements.

Department of Health Commissioners’ Order Documentation

-On August 6, 2015 the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued a mandatory order to have cooling systems inspected and remediated within 14 days of receipt of the order. Owners are encouraged to upload this documentation to the DOB cooling tower tracking portal to show proof of compliance with the Commissioner’s Order.

 

A failure to comply with any DOB mandatory requirements will result in the issuance of a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.

If you have any questions regarding this new law please contact: Howard Weiss, Chair of DHC’s Land Use group at 646-428-3271 or hsw@dhclegal.com, Ron Mandel, Senior Counsel at 646-428-3270 or rm@dhclegal.com or Nora Martins, Associate at 646-428-3237 or nma@dhclegal.com.

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