Legionella in France: the French Government is tightening cooling tower controls

Two decrees were signed Monday December 13, 2004, reinforcing prevention of legionella risks. These decrees in particular establish compulsory external controls for all cooling towers. These measures come under the Plan to combat legionella introduced in June 2004 following the epidemic in Lens (86 cases including 17 deaths) to halve the number of cases by 2008. In 2003, 1044 cases were registered including 129 deaths. Since the decree dated December 1, 2004, all cooling towers are required to comply with the legislation applying to classified installations and the owners must establish a maintenance plan for the towers. The owners of large towers must check legionella concentration every month and the other smaller towers must be controlled every two months. The tower inventory launched in February 2004 made it possible to identify 12 745 towers in 5 721 installations in France. These two decrees will reinforce monitoring and prevention measures. In addition, the Ministry announces that a staff training guide and a guide for risk management will be distributed in the next two months as well as a guide to help the owners choose other cooling processes than cooling towers.