Legionella Management in Building Water Systems

Developments in State Policy


New Orleans, Louisiana


Citation: New Orleans, Louisiana Code of Ordinances Sec. 26-17 (Section 154)

Available: https://library.municode.com/la/new_orleans/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIICO_CH26BUBUREHOST_ARTIINGE_S26-17SAME


Summary: In 2017, the city of New Orleans, Louisiana, adopted an amended version of the 2015 International Mechanical Code. In adopting the code, the city added a requirement for all buildings with cooling towers or other aerosol-producing equipment to have a Legionella management plan, including specific requirements for inspections, cleaning, water monitoring and treatment. The code also sets reporting and corrective action requirements. The code provisions build on the framework of ASHRAE Standard 188.

Key Provisions:

Requirement for a Legionella Management Plan

The New Orleans building code requires the entity in control of any “open circuit Cooling Tower, Evaporative Condenser or any other aerosol producing equipment” to maintain a water management plan in accordance with ASHRAE 188. Equipment must be maintained, monitored, cleaned and sanitized in accordance with the plan and with the ASHRAE standard. New Orleans Code of Ordinances 26-17 (sec. 154).

Other Specific Requirements

Section 154.1 of the regulation specifies a number of actions that, “in accordance with ASHRAE 188,” must be included in the water management plan and carried out in buildings containing open circuit equipment.

Inspections. Equipment must be inspected at least once per month.

Cleaning. Equipment must be drained, cleaned and sanitized at least once per year.

Water Treatment. Disinfectant pretreatment is required before “re-energizing” equipment that has been inoperable or shut down for any period exceeding 72 hours. An emergency decontamination kit must be maintained for immediate use if the presence of Legionella is detected.

Water Quality Monitoring. The code requires a water sample to be tested by bacteria dip slide at least once per month. If the bacteria dip slide test reveals exceedances as specified in the code, water samples must be taken by a qualified water treatment specialist and tested for Legionella and other bacteria by a CDC-certified lab or other lab approved by the city. Such testing must also occur following power failures, system shut down prior to restart or loss of biocide treatment if there is potential for the growth of bacteria. Routine sampling for Legionella and other bacteria following the above procedures is required at least once every six months. Recirculating water must be monitored for pH and biocide levels at least twice per week by a designated responsible person.

Sections 154.2 and 154.3 of the regulation set forth certain corrective actions that must be taken for specified bacteriological dip slide indicator results and for Legionella laboratory testing culture results, with corrective actions tiered according to result levels. The tiered result levels for Legionella culture results parallel the Legionella data interpretation guidelines set forth in Table 3.1 of the American Industrial Hygiene Association’s Guidelines, Recognition, Evaluation, and Control of Legionella in Building Water Systems.

Agency Oversight

Recordkeeping. The results of all water sample testing and equipment inspections must be recorded in a water management log. Sec. 154.1(8). The building manager must maintain the log readily available for inspection by the Department. Sec. 154.1(5).

Reporting. The New Orleans Department of Safety and Permits must be notified within 24 hours of an event listed in the regulation as requiring non-routine sampling. Sec. 154.1(9).

Enforcement. In addition to establishing corrective action requirements, Section 154 authorizes the director of the Department of Safety and Permits, if he or she believes an open circuit cooling tower, evaporative condenser or aerosol-producing equipment is in violation of the code, to order the immediate shutdown of the equipment. Sec. 154.4.


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