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Legionnaires Disease is an infection of the lungs caused by breathing in Legionella bacteria. While Legionella bacteria are naturally present at low levels in the environment, they have the ability to grow rapidly to dangerous levels in poorly managed cooling towers (used to cool large buildings) and warm water systems (used to provide instantaneous warm water).
There are more than 200 registered cooling towers and warm water systems operating within Canterbury-Bankstown. Council's Environmental Health Officers undertake inspections of cooling towers to ensure compliance with public health legislation and to reduce potential public health risks associated with Legionnaires Disease.
All cooling towers and warm water systems must be designed, constructed and operated in accordance with the following requirements:
Inspections of cooling towers are carried out by Council's Environmental Health Officers on an annual basis to ensure they comply with the abovementioned requirements. A fee is charged for this inspection in accordance with Council's fees and charges schedule.
Whilst carrying out inspections, Council's Environmental Health Officers ensure that:
Failure to comply with these requirements can result in penalty infringement notices (on-the-spot fines) or Council's Environmental Health Officers can order a cooling tower system to be shut down, if it poses an immediate public health risk.
Building owners and managers are required to register their cooling towers and warm water systems with Council. To register a new cooling tower or warm water system or to notify of any changes, please complete a registration form and return to Council.
NSW Health has developed a range of resources to assist cooling tower owners and operators in complying with public health requirements.
For more information, contact Council's Environmental Health and Compliance Unit on 9707 9000.