The New South Wales Government has just introduced an amendment to the Public Health Regulation 2012 which will impact any facility that includes a water-cooling system – or more specifically cooling towers.

This new legislation mandates monthly microbiological testing for every cooling tower in the state and effective from 1 January 2018, the new laws require any occupier of premises that contains cooling towers to ensure:

  • All undergo monthly testing for Legionella and heterotrophic colony counts
  • Reportable test results of Legionella counts ≥1000cfu/mL and heterotrophic colony counts ≥5,000,000cfu/mL are notified to the local government authority for that area.

Why has mandatory testing been introduced?

The NSW government has moved from a prescriptive approach to a risk-based approach in the management of water-cooling systems, in an effort to more effectively prevent outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease.

This risk-based approach is in accordance with Australian standards and in line with best practice in other Australian states as well as overseas.

When does mandatory testing commence?

The first monthly test MUST be completed before 1 February 2018.

Who should carry out the tests?

Experts in the installation, operation and maintenance of cooling towers – such as SAS Water – should be engaged to undertake monthly sampling and laboratory testing.

What does mandatory testing mean for SAS Water clients?

SAS Water clients can rest easy knowing that we will ensure the new legislative requirements are being met at your cooling tower.

We will incorporate additional monthly sampling and testing by a NATA accredited laboratory (if such practices are not already in place) and ensure any reportable test results are supplied directly to the occupier or local government authorities, as per legislative requirements.

What other changes are on the way?

The NSW Government is currently evaluating further legislative changes to cooling tower system management including:

  • Risk management plans to be developed for each cooling tower system, at least once every five years (or yearly for high risk systems).
  • Independent auditing to be conducted every year.
  • Certificate of RMP completion and audit completion to be lodged with local government.
  • Unique identification numbers to be displayed on every cooling tower.

SAS Water is closely following the evolution of these regulatory changes. We are committed to informing our clients well ahead of time of any implementation.

Need more information?

Please contact us here at SAS Water. We can answer any specific questions you may have about your cooling tower and the new legislation.

More information is also available from the NSW Government website.

Keeping microbial growth under control?