August 18, 2015
By Stephanie West
Governor Cuomo along with Mayor de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito announced the State and City would take the unprecedented step of jointly crafting and instituting uniform regulations to combat Legionnaires’ disease. The unparalleled outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx this summer, and other outbreaks across the state, have posed new challenges for both the city and state.
"Protecting the public health is our number one priority," said Governor Cuomo. "I want the people of New York to know that we are doing everything necessary to tackle this outbreak and stop it from happening again. This unified approach will help in this effort, and I want to thank the City for working hand-in-hand on these emergency regulations to prevent the occurrence of Legionnaires’ disease in the future."
The regulations will mandate timeframes and procedures for maintaining and testing of cooling towers, fines for failure to comply, and a statewide registry. This package to systematically register and maintain cooling towers for the purposes of fighting Legionnaires’ disease would be the first of its kind. City legislation will be passed by the City Council and adopted by Mayor, while the Governor will use his emergency powers to make the policy statewide.
“An unprecedented event like this outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease in the South Bronx requires an unprecedented response,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This legislative action will be the first of its kind for a major American city, as well as first set of regulations by any state in the union, and it will establish new registration, cleaning and monitoring standards for cooling towers in the fight against Legionnaires’ Disease. As the current outbreak tapers off, we now look to how to prevent these outbreaks in the future, and this groundbreaking legislation provides the tools needed to safeguard our communities. The Mayor’s Office continues to work in coordination with the City Council, as well as with our state and federal partners, to keep our people safe and protect public health.”