ASHRAE Legionella Standard serves as basis for new CDC toolkit​

Guidance from an ASHRAE standard regarding development and implementation of a water management program to reduce building risk for legionella is the basis of a new toolkit by the Centers for Disease Control.

The toolkit, “Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings: A Practical Guide to Implementing Industry Standards,” was released today. It provides a checklist to help identify if a water management program is needed, examples to help identify where legionella could grow and spread in a building and ways to reduce risk of contamination.

The toolkit is based on ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015, Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.

The toolkit was announced via the CDC’s Vital Signs, a monthly update from CDC that highlights topics of public health interest. This is the first time legionella has been highlighted in Vital Signs.

 “ASHRAE is pleased to have worked with the CDC to help safeguard public health,” ASHRAE President David Underwood said. “While Legionnaire’s Disease has been known for many years, recent outbreaks have increased awareness of the disease, its causes and prevention strategies. We saw the need for this shortly after the standard was published, when an outbreak in New York City left at least 12 dead and 120 infected.  At that time, portions of the standard were adopted by the city.”

“Many of the Legionnaire’s disease outbreaks in the United States over the past 15 years could have been prevented,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D. M.P.H. “Better water system management is the best way to reduce illness and save lives and today’s report promotes tools to make that happen.”

An earlier version of the toolkit was developed by the CDC, the state of Michigan and Genesee County to encourage at-risk building owners in Flint, Mich., to design and implement Standard 188 compliant water management plans. ASHRAE took part in a town hall meeting there to educate officials about the risks.

“The water crisis in Flint and the deaths there from Legionnaire’s Disease demonstrate that great care must be given to the entire building water system,” Underwood said.

Standard 188 can be previewed at no cost at https://www.ashrae.org/Standard188. The toolkit is available at www.cdc.gov/legionella.

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