“Whilst this is not required by [the regulation] the Public Health Unit has recommended, as best practice, that the monthly water samples mandated by the regulation are taken by a company independent of the water treatment company that services the cooling water systems,” they wrote.
The investigation found the system at one of the four sites, located on Druitt Street, was leaking water, potentially leading to the dilution of disinfectant. Its drift eliminator had also been faulty for more than a year, leading to an unacceptable risk of emission of potentially contaminated droplets.
The investigators said their work had highlighted that, despite the new regulatory regime, poorly maintained cooling water systems “continue to represent a risk to people”.
“The effectiveness of the regulation could be strengthened by requiring monthly cooling water system testing to be undertaken by a party independent to the maintenance contractor, and by requiring that defects identified in risk management plans are rectified within a reasonable timeframe,” they wrote.
It is already an offence to falsify a Legionella test result under the regulation.
A NSW government spokesperson said the state’s Cooling Water Systems Reference Group, which includes epidemiological and environmental health experts, commenced a review of the regulatory framework for cooling water systems in 2023.
While independent sampling and testing of systems is being considered as part of the review, the…