Scaling UP! H2O

265 The One About Legionella and a FedEx Package, Part 1

Russell Baskin, Russ Baskin, Tower Water,

Nation, what would you do if your company was told they needed to service ALL of its cleaning towers within the next 14 calendar days? How would you do that and what would it look like? Today’s interview is all about how a FedEx letter with Legionella legislation changed a New York water treater’s company forever. Join me as I interview Russell Baskin, a Water Treatment, Waterborne Diseases, and Legionella-Compliance Expert who experienced first-hand how Legionella legislation can rock your business to the core if you’re not ready for it.

Russell graduated from the College of New Jersey with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1988. After college, he went on to work as a Technical Sales and Territory Consultant at a top water treatment firm. After six years, Russell launched his own very own full-service water treatment company, Tower Water. With more than 30 years of involvement with designing, servicing, and testing automatic chemical water treatment injection and filtration systems used to protect commercial, industrial, and institutional water systems against scale, corrosion, biofilm, Legionella, and other waterborne diseases, Russell spearheaded the growth of Tower Water as one of the top water treatment companies in the Northeast and the New York Metro Area. 

Today, Russell will talk about his 2018 AWT convention presentation, “How ASHRAE 188 Changed His Business” in Orlando, Florida. Russell’s involvement in Legionella awareness spans years since he started writing Water Management Plans for the control of Legionella after ASHRAE 188 was released in 2015. He has worked with industry experts like Matt Freije of HCINFO, Janet Stout of Special Pathogens Laboratory, Bill Pearson of Arthur Freedman Associates, and Jay Farmerie of Cyrus Rice in developing Water Management Plans using ASHRAE 12-2000 procedures which he has modified to meet NY State and NY City regulations, including Local Law 77. 

Bottom line: Russell Baskin is going to tell you why you need to pay attention to the Legionella legislation in the city where you treat water. 

Your roadside friend, as you travel from client to client. 




Continuing Legionella Awareness Month and upcoming events for water treaters [01:20]

Thinking On Water With James [06:10]

Introducing Russell Baskin, President, and Visionary at Tower Water [07:54]

Who is Russell Baskin, CWT? [12:57]

Getting the dreaded FedEx letter with Legionella Legislation from the Commissioner of New York City [26:27]

Why legislation happened and where the tasks and timelines came from [28:57]

Cleaning 300 Cooling Towers in 5 days [30:32]

Talking about “How ASHRAE 188 Changed His Business” at the AWT Conference [32:40]

Why you need to pay attention to ASHRAE 188 before legislation forces you to jump into action [35:47]


Thinking On Water With James: 

In this week’s episode, we’re thinking about writing field service reports. What should you really be writing in a field service report? Should you write “All is good” while also listing the issues found? How might a badly written field service report haunt you later? How many overly general statements cause later problems? How much detail is too much?  Who actually reads your field service reports? Do you ensure all the proper parties are fully aware of any issues or actions needed to be taken on top of just emailing the report out? Does your report actually provide value each visit or is it just a repeat of the last report that the customer finds no value in reading each time? If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen, and the field service report is high-profile proof of the value you bring when written, communicated, and shared properly. Take this week to think about your field service reports and how you can work to increase their value. 



“When I received the letter, it was devastating to me, I needed to figure it out. I was gonna stay at work until I figure out what we’re gonna do, how we’re gonna handle this, what the clients are gonna think, and how we’re gonna get this done.” – Russell Baskin

“In 5 days, I needed to turn over all water treatment reports from the past year.”  – Russell Baskin

“The difference was that Quebec, Canada had about 90 cooling towers, and New York City had about 10,000 cooling towers. There were not enough people to get the job done.”  – Russell Baskin

“The ASHRAE 188 legislation was my defining moment at my company.”  – Russell Baskin

“I heard about ASHRAE 188 for 10 years before the legislation passed, and I always thought I had more time to work out the details.”  – Russell Baskin


Connect with Russell M. Baskin:

Phone: (212) 518-6475



LinkedIn: in/russell-baskin-77437216


Visit our Scaling UP! H2O Legionella Resources Page:

Legionella Resources


Links Mentioned:   

Bill Pearson

Submit a Show Idea

The Rising Tide Mastermind


Books Mentioned: 

Traction: Get A Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman

I Said This, You Heard That Workbook by Kathleen Edelman

I Said This, You Heard That (2nd Edition) by Kathleen Edelman

Water Treatment education

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