Local government authorities (LGAs) have legislated responsibilities and are a key partner in preventing Legionnaires’ disease in NSW.
LGAs have an obligation under Section 4 of the Public Health Act 2010 (the Act) to take appropriate measures to ensure compliance with regulation of cooling water systems.
LGAs can undertake various activities in order to meet this obligation. This can include:
Under the Regulation, LGAs must also:
LGAs must maintain an up-to-date register of cooling water systems in their area. This is an important way for ensuring that system details are readily available in the event of an outbreak.
The register includes names and contact details of the person(s) responsible for the system; the unique identification number for each cooling tower in the system; date of notification for each certificate of RMP completion and audit completion; date of notification for each reportable test result; and details of any inspections carried out by the LGA.
LGAs must issue a unique identification number for each cooling tower in a system, for all existing systems, and when notified of a newly installed cooling water system.
The unique identification number should be issued by LGAs using a consistent format across NSW:
For example, “ABC-0007-02” would describe the second cooling tower in the seventh cooling water system that was registered within the ABC local government area.
LGAs should develop local processes to address reportable test results. This may involve contacting the occupier or duly qualified person (DQP), reviewing the RMP, following up on subsequent test results, investigating the premises where poor practice is suspected, and using the authorised officer’s powers if necessary.
Similar processes should be developed for responding to certificates of audit completion showing non-compliance.
LGAs can choose to carry out on-site inspection programs of cooling water systems in their area.
This helps to protect the health of their local population and is an effective way for LGAs to meet their responsibilities under Section 4 of the Act.
The frequency of inspection is at the LGA’s discretion.
LGAs and Public Health Units conduct an urgent environmental evaluation during an outbreak investigation. This includes:
LGAs are able to charge fees for receiving:
Additional fees and penalties may be associated with investigation and inspection of cooling water systems by LGAs in order to protect the health of their local population.
You can find your LGA by entering the address of the cooling water system at: Find my council.
The NSW Guidelines for Legionella Control in Cooling Water Systems explain the requirements in detail, including the role of LGAs.
This series of factsheets summarises the key information for each stakeholder. The full set of factsheets can be found on the NSW Health website.
NSW Health has developed the Legionella Control in Cooling Water Systems training program together with TAFE NSW.