DOHMH Shares Cooling Tower Seasonal Startup Tips

NYC’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene sent out a list of cooling tower seasonal startup tips as teams begin planning these processes.

You can download the DOHMH’s PDF here – we’ve also copied their steps below:

Coordinate Early With Your Water Management Team

SiteCompli note – lots of folks are involved in Cooling Tower maintenance and compliance. Here’s an overview of who can fulfill specific roles, and what they’re responsible for.

  • Qualified person – Perform an annual review of the Maintenance Program and Plan (MPP) and update the risk assessment. Evaluate startup procedures, create an early plan of action and address planned operating conditions
  • Water treatment vendor – Schedule well ahead for cleanings and disinfection, routine water treatments, visits, and summertime hyperhalogenation – see summertime disinfection FAQ here
    • SiteCompli note – don’t forget – summertime hyperhalogenation is due from July 1 – August 31, each year
  • Mechanical contractor – Review mechanical conditions, performance of the cooling tower system, and routine maintenance in preparation for startup or cleaning
  • Building management – Keep facility personnel informed about startup scheduling

Adapt To Specific Conditions For Your Cooling Tower System

  • Each system is unique: Cleaning and disinfection procedures must be tailored to your specific system and reflect the findings of your risk assessment. Well planned cleaning and disinfection at start up reduces risk, labor costs, and saves energy
  • Rapid Seasonal Weather Changes: Weather changes during the shoulder seasons may result in premature system startup followed by reduced operation. Monitor the weather, and plan ahead for possible early startup or temporary operation and adjust your operations accordingly
  • Partial Or Temporary Operation: Always maintain adequate circulation and treatment while in operation. Standing water, low flow and improperly cleaned system components contribute to Legionella growth and rapid proliferation. Pay attention to system components such as backup pumps, chillers, and cooling tower cells, that may not operate at all times or are under automated control (e.g. BMS). These components should be drained after use and cleaned and/or disinfected before placing them back into operation

Critical Elements For An Effective Cleaning And Disinfection

  • Cleaning must be systemic: Biofilms or sediments in parts of your system besides the cooling tower may harbor Legionella. Be sure to clean and disinfect all piping and equipment including heat exchangers, chillers, other heat transfer devices, offline equipment and seldom used pipe runs. Review the manufacturers’ recommendations and your MPP for the cleaning frequency and procedures for each system component
  • Fully drain to rid the system of contaminants: Cleaning and disinfection dislodges material that will stay in your system unless all water is drained


Here are some additional, helpful resources for Cooling Tower information and best practices:

If you’re interested in tracking Cooling Tower work, documentation, or processes, reach out to We’ve got helpful tools for your team to track registration, summertime hyperhalogenation, ongoing treatment, and more.


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About the Author

Kristen Hariton

Kristen Hariton is the Vice President, Product Engagement at SiteCompli, focused on exploring new solutions and innovations in property operations tech. When she's not sharing the latest industry trends, changes, and updates, she's planning her next adventure to Walt Disney World.