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New York State Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti of Westchester County has introduced legislation that would require the inspection and maintenance of cooling and heating systems statewide.

A spokesman for Abinanti said that the bill deals with both heating and cooling systems as opposed to cooling towers only as with the recently passed legislation in New York City.  The bill does not, however, include a statewide registry of heating and cooling systems or towers.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced emergency statewide Legionnaires’ disease regulations a little over a week ago, but his proposed regulations include the registration of heating and cooling systems.

The full press release from Abinanti’s office is below:

“Following reports of the presence of legionella bacteria in Westchester and Rockland counties, Assemblyman Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh/Mt. Pleasant) has introduced legislation that would require the periodic inspection and maintenance of both heating and cooling systems throughout the state.

The recent discovery of Legionella bacteria in a Yonkers school and cases of legionnaire’s disease in Rockland County come on the heels of a now-contained outbreak in the South Bronx. Over the last several years, there have been reports of other incidents around the state.

“Unfortunately, the reach of this potentially fatal disease is widespread,” said Abinanti. “We need a comprehensive, coordinated approach to prevent further outbreaks throughout the state.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the key to preventing legionnaire’s disease is properly maintaining water systems in which legionella grow – including both heating and cooling systems – in all types of commercial and residential buildings.

As New York City officials responded to the South Bronx outbreak, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the Department of Health to issue emergency statewide regulations ordering inspections and registration of cooling towers. Abinanti called the emergency regulations a good first step, but cautioned that there should be language in statute.

The language in Abinanti’s bill does not supersede stronger municipal rules, regulations, codes or statutes when it comes to detecting and preventing the presence of legionella bacteria.

“Dealing with heating and cooling systems in all types of commercial and residential buildings shows that New York State understands the depth and breadth of the problem,” said the Westchester Assemblyman. “This is a serious, statewide health issue deserving a permanent statewide legislative solution.”

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