EPA Seeks Input Regarding Legionella Risk Management

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday on the Federal Register, October 21, 2015, that it will host a public meeting / webinar to discuss its draft of “Technologies for Legionella Control: Scientific Literature Review,” a document it hopes will become “a non-regulatory tool to assist states and primary agencies, building water system operators and building owners when making decisions about Legionella risk management options.”

Legionella Pneumophila Testing
Testing for Legionella Bacteria (CDC)

Interestingly, although this draft will outline the efficacy of different control technologies for building water systems (defined as “the pipe infrastructure inside a building used to deliver finished drinking water intended for human consumption,”) it will neither a) recommend one system over another nor b) discuss control technologies that might be used to improve the safety of cooling towers – the very systems responsible for the two fatal Legionnaires Disease outbreaks in the Bronx, NY this summer.

Poorly maintained cooling towers have twice been pinpointed as the source of the Legionella pneumonia bacteria that has killed 13 people and seriously sickened at least 132 others in these two separate disease outbreaks; our law firm is currently representing multiple victims of the outbreak triggered by the cooling tower at the Opera House Hotel. When unmaintained cooling towers, part of building air conditioning, ventilation, and / or heating systems, are contaminated, they aerosol and disseminate the bacteria as mist that is inhaled by anyone in their proximity. This can lead, generally in immunocompromised people, to the development of Legionnaires’ Disease, which kills up to 30% of the people it infects.

The EPA invites the public to contribute to their draft review in person or online via its webinar; prior registration must be made by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time, November 3, 2015.  The public meeting will be held on November 9, 2015, from 1:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern time at the EPA Potomac Yard South Building, 1st Floor Conference Center (One Potomac Yard, 2777 S. Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202).

Those who, through no fault of their own, contract Legionnaires’ Disease from contaminated cooling towers often accumulate staggering bills for hospital and medical expenses and cost of aftercare; add to this the lost wages that result during a recovery time that can last up to 17 months (Lettinga KD, Clin Infect Dis, July 1, 2002), and damages typically far exceed six figures.

If you or one of your family members has been hospitalized and / or has died from Legionnaires’ Disease contracted from a cooling tower, we can help you determine the damages (including medical expenses, lost wages, cost of care, and pain and suffering) to which you are entitled. Please contact Fred Pritzker or Eric Hageman, at 1-888-377-8900 or use our free online consultation form.

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Category: Legionnaires' Disease
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