These installations must be reported to the competent authority. In addition, further notification obligations must be fulfilled.
The 42nd Ordinance on the Implementation of the Federal Immission Control Act (Ordinance on Evaporative Cooling Systems, Cooling Towers and Wet Separators - 42nd BImSchV) obliges operators of such systems to apply the state of the art during construction and operation, among other things. Systems within the scope of this ordinance must be designed, constructed and operated in such a way that contamination of the process water by microorganisms, in particular legionella, is avoided in accordance with the state of the art. According to the 42nd BImSchV, these systems must be notified. This can be done nationwide via the KaVKA register website. In Bavaria, a general decree stipulates that the notification must be made exclusively via this portal. In addition, the 42nd BImSchV contains test and action values for concentrations of legionella in process water.
Legionella are aerobic bacteria that are classified as potentially pathogenic to humans. They are widespread environmental germs that occur in small numbers in surface waters, for example. Inhaling water droplets (aerosols) containing Legionella can cause pneumonia, which can even lead to life-threatening infections under certain circumstances. Human infections occur worldwide either sporadically or as part of outbreaks. In recent years, there have also been Legionella outbreaks in Germany with fatalities, for example in 2013 in Warstein and 2010 in Ulm. In addition to contaminated drinking water, evaporative cooling systems, cooling towers and wet separators can also be sources of legionella. Under certain conditions, evaporative cooling systems, cooling towers and wet separators can release water droplets containing Legionella into the outside air. The aim of legal regulations is to inhibit the growth of legionella and reduce the emission of aerosols containing legionella from these systems.
Among other things, the ordinance contains the following legally binding notification and reporting obligations for the operator:
- Obligation to inform the competent authorities if the action values are exceeded (§ 10 sentence 1)
- Obligation to notify a new installation (Section 13 (1))
- Obligation to notify an existing installation (Section 13 (2))
- Obligation to notify changes to the installation or the decommissioning of the installation (Section 13 (3))
- Obligation to notify a change of operator (Section 13 (4))
- Obligation to have an inspection carried out by an expert (Section 14 (1) in conjunction with (2) sentence 1)
- Obligation to notify the results to the authority (Section 14 (2) sentence 2)
- Submission of an application for exemptions, if these are required (Section 15).