Industrial blue cooling tower at a chemical plant.

The City of Vancouver is proposing changes to the Vancouver Building By-Law for cooling towers, evaporative condensers, and decorative water features.

What’s the issue?
Buildings with mechanical systems which aerosolize water — including cooling towers and decorative water features — have the potential for wide dispersal of Legionella-containing water mist. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe form of pneumonia. In a review of waterborne outbreaks associated with drinking water in the United States in 2013-2014, all fatalities were attributable to Legionella. Last year, the reported incidents of Legionnaires’ disease in the United States was about 2.6 cases per 100,000 — the actual disease burden may be ten times this — and about 1-in-10 cases is fatal.
 
What are the proposed changes?
For new construction, the plans are to adopt the Legionella-related 2020 National building Code changes, centred around minimizing the amount of contaminated water and reducing amount of water mist. For existing cooling tower installations, the plan is to require a Legionella test after startup and also every calendar month.  A on-site maintenance log would be required.
 
What is the timeline?
Currently the City of Vancouver is asking for feedback from building owners and operators.  It’s anticipated that the changes will be made sometime in 2020.

For more information, please contact your BC Comfort representative.