At some point, the majority of cooling towers will be contaminated with Legionella. The most effective deterrent is a quality program of water treatment that not only prevents the aforementioned risk but also ensures a safer and more efficient operation of the system as well as a longer life for the system. However, no maintenance system and water treatment alone will guarantee to keep legionella at bay. So read on to learn more about the best practices to use!
Cooling towers, of course, contain pools of water that is not only warm but open to the atmosphere, ideal conditions for legionella bacteria if there is no regular maintenance and frequent disinfecting and cleaning taking place. There is no question that managing the risk falls within the purview of the manager and facility owners. Let’s look at the hazards and how they can be prevented in further detail.
Water Source Quality
Hazard – Usually coming from a municipal or well supply but can sometimes come from a holding tank, makeup water often contains sludge, sediment, and rust.
Preventative Measures – The cooling tower should be disinfected and cleaned focusing on the entire tower and any holding tank by removing any sediment, sludge, and rust at least two times per year. If the water is coming from a river, reservoir or lake, antimicrobial treatments should be used before the water enters the cooling system to prevent fouling.
Treatment Of Water
Hazard – The flow velocities, temperature and other environmental factors of cooling tower waters vary.
Preventative Measures – The system should be designed so water can circulate throughout the system whenever it is operating. System operation should be coordinated with a full chemical treatment of the water. Also, keep the system clean by removing all dirt and debris. If the cooling tower needs to be shut down for more than three days, the entire system should be drained.
Hazard – Cooling towers are open to the environment and the system can rapidly become recolonized with micro bacteria.
Preventative Measures – Vary the antimicrobial stresses in the cooling tower microbial control program by alternating between two non-oxidizing biocides.
Significance of Biofilms
Hazard – Dust, dirt and suchlike enter the cooling tower water during the cooling process. Depending on where the cooling tower is located, the amount of material can be extensive. The presence of biofilms is important for Legionella survival and growth providing nutrients in water systems.
Preventative Measures – It is strongly advised to use a compatible and environmentally acceptable dispersant and/or detergent to penetrate biofilm and sediments. Make sure to follow proper cleaning and maintenance for your cooling system to ensure top performance and to minimize the risk of disease
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