Cooling Tower Information & Registration

A cooling tower is a heat exchanger that contains water and is used to remove excess heat by some buildings as part of their air conditioning, ventilation, and/or heating systems.  Cooling towers are used to cool water by putting air and water into direct contact to extract waste heat into the atmosphere. When the water and air meet, a small amount of water is evaporated, creating a cooling action. The cooled water is then pumped back to the condenser or process equipment where it absorbs heat.

An evaporative condenser is a device which facilitates the condensation, or return to a liquid state, of a hot gas or vapor in a tube system using the evaporation of water flowing over the tubes. In simple terms, an evaporative condenser uses a system of tubes exposed to a constant flow of water to cool and condense a hot gas.

Importance of Cooling Tower Maintenance

A polluted cooling tower will lead to a reduced cooling capacity which negatively influences the reliability of the system and can create health risks. However, this can easily be avoided by performing regular preventive maintenance.

If you own a building with a cooling tower:

  • You must disinfect all of your building's cooling towers
  • You must keep records at the building(s) you own of the inspection and disinfection of all cooling towers. If City officials ask for these records, you must show them
  • You must maintain records of the inspection and remediation, and make them available to the City upon request

Equipment Registration

If you have a cooling tower or evaporative condenser, please register your equipment. Cooling Tower registration is mandatory and must be completed prior to initial operation. Building owners must register cooling towers or evaporative condensers through the Department's Cooling Tower Registration. Before registering equipment, building owners or property managers must enroll in the Department's electronic tracking system by providing simple identifying information, i.e. name, telephone number, and email address.

Once enrolled, you may then register the applicable equipment, including the location of the device(s) and the location of all buildings serviced by the device(s). To complete the registration, you will also need to enter the following information:

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Additionally, owners are responsible for the following:

Annual Certification:
File certification annually notifying compliance with § 28-317.5

In accordance with § 28-317.4

Discontinued Use:
Notify the Department within 30 days after removing or permanently discontinuing use. See § 28-317.3.1

Cooling Tower Regulations
In accordance with Local Law 77 of 2015 – effective August 18, 2015 – building owners and property managers of cooling towers are required to do the following:

Registration of New and Existing Equipment

  • Cooling Tower registration is mandatory. New cooling towers, fluid coolers, and evaporative condensers must be registered with the Department of Buildings prior to initial operation.
  • Existing cooling towers, fluid coolers and evaporative condensers must be registered with the Department within 30 days of the law's enactment.


  • Mandatory inspection, testing, cleaning, and disinfection of cooling towers, in accordance with Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) regulations, is required.

Annual Certification

  • Building owners and property managers must annually certify with the Department that cooling towers have been inspected, tested, cleaned and disinfected in compliance with Local Law 77 of 2015 .

Discontinuance of Use

  • Mandatory notification of cooling tower removal or permanent discontinued use within 30 days after removal/discontinuation; the notice must include a statement verifying the cooling tower was drained and sanitized in compliance with DOHMH requirements.


  • Failure to register, submit annual certification, or report discontinued use shall result in the issuance of a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.

DOHMH Commissioners' Order Documentation

On August 6, 2015 the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a mandatory order to have cooling systems inspected and remediated within 14 days of receipt of the order. Owners are encouraged to upload this documentation to the DOB cooling tower tracking portal to show proof of compliance with the Commissioner's Order.

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