Building owners and maintenance workers across the country may soon have to comply with building codes that include measures to limit the propagation of Legionella. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), a group that creates recommendations that influence building codes nationwide, is creating tougher standards to fight Legionella in water supplies. These standards would compel building operators in large and at-risk buildings to take specific steps to limit the chances for Legionella to grow and to verify that they are taking the correct actions to avoid problems.
ASHRAE’s board could vote this year on whether to adopt these new standards. If accepted, state building codes could change to reflect these recommendations in the near future. According to Janet Stout, an ASHRAE committee member and director of the Special Pathogens Lab, it “was “way past time for the United States” to have a single, uniform Legionella Standard.” Time will tell whether new ASHRAE guideline will be accepted, whether building codes reflect these recommendations, and whether this has a dramatic affect on instances of Legionella outbreaks and Legionnaires’ disease cases in the United States. Surely, the presence of a standard that lays out specific steps to avoid Legionella growth is a move in the right direction.
Jules Zacher is an attorney in Philadelphia who has tried Legionnaires’ disease cases across the country. Please visit LegionnaireLawyer.com again for updates on this story.