The New York City Council has adopted part of ASHRAE’s new legionellosis standard as a means of preventing future outbreaks what is commonly known as Legionnaires’ disease.

The city’s new regulations deal with the inspection of cooling towers commonly used in HVAC construction. A tower at a hotel in the Bronx was blamed for the outbreak this summer that killed 12 and sickened 120 people.

The city now requires building owners to file maintenance plan with the city that comply with a section of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ recently updated legionellosis HVAC market standard.

“Standard 188 was published just two short months ago,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said. “Although the circumstances surrounding its use are tragic, ASHRAE is grateful that the standard is available to set requirements to manage risk of this bacteria. We are hopeful other governments will follow the lead of the New York City Council to help safeguard public health.”

Michael Patton, a member of the ASHRAE committee that wrote the standard, asked the council to adopt the full standard.

“Section 7 is very good by itself,” Patton said, “but it doesn't really address the whole idea of informing building owners, managers, property managers how to put a plan for a whole building into place and what it should contain.”

The society’s standards are issued as guidelines and it is up top governments to adopt them and give them the force of law.