Operating a cooling tower is an important part of many large facilities with substantial cooling needs. However, these towers can pose a significant risk to the health and safety of anyone nearby if they are not properly maintained. This is the origin of cooling tower compliance. Business and commercial building owners who require assistance with compliance for their buildings’ cooling towers should establish a relationship with Legionella and compliance experts who can ensure that their facility is compliant with all necessary regulations.
What Does Cooling Tower Compliance Mean?
Cooling tower compliance refers to the process of ensuring that a building that operates cooling towers conducts the proper inspections, maintenance, and safety procedures to operate the machinery without posing a risk to others. Many states and local governments are preparing laws maintaining a list of requirements with which all cooling tower operators must comply. Working with an expert on cooling tower compliance ensures that your facility abides by all proposed regulations.
Common Compliance Regulations
In order to be compliant, a cooling tower must undergo regular inspections, testing and maintenance. The specific details of compliance will differ slightly from state to state, but in general, compliance requires that a business or facility owner register the cooling tower. In New York, cooling towers must be registered before they are operated for the first time, and failure to do so will result in a fine. Many states are preparing laws to implement the same registration requirements for cooling towers. It is also important to be mindful of the date of your registration because cooling tower registrations need to be renewed yearly.
Any owner of a building that operates a cooling tower must also implement a maintenance plan and a water safety risk management plan. For most maintenance requirements, the cooling tower must be cleaned and disinfected at least twice per year. Typical compliance also includes bacterial testing and inspections, most often quarterly. Dip slide bacteria testing is generally required once per week.
Every 90 days, owners of buildings with cooling towers should also collect water samples and obtain culture testing. This provides a more comprehensive glimpse into the state of the cooling tower by identifying specific strains or types of bacteria present in the water. If potentially hazardous bacteria are discovered during this process, disinfecting must occur immediately.
Mitigating The Risk Of Legionella In Cooling Towers
One of the primary goals of cooling tower compliance is to avert outbreaks of Legionella, a specific type of gram-negative bacteria that tends to thrive in towers. Legionella proliferates quickly in fresh water and can infect humans via water vapor or aerosolized water that contains the microorganism. Cooling towers are known for creating mist or steam as part of their regular operation, which makes them a common cause behind outbreaks of Legionella.
Legionella is such a central issue in compliance because it can cause severe or even life-threatening illness in humans. Most will simply suffer from Pontiac fever, a flu-like illness that is evidenced by chills, nausea, headache and loss of appetite; this sickness is generally overcome without issue but is dangerous in the same population for whom the seasonal flu is a risk.
Those who experience a more severe infection with Legionella will come down with Legionnaires’ disease. This sickness is fatal in up to ten percent of those who fall ill since it causes severe lung inflammation that makes it difficult to breathe. It progresses quickly, and anyone who believes that they may have been exposed to Legionella should seek medical attention immediately.
Because Legionella is such a dangerous bacteria and yet so prolific in cooling towers, a significant portion of the compliance regulations are focused on ensuring that it is not present. The best method of ensuring that your cooling tower is not at risk of Legionella is by creating a comprehensive Legionella prevention plan that is customized to your unique system. An experienced Legionella compliance company can assist you in creating this plan and evaluating the specific risks of your water system and cooling tower. If you have an active outbreak, your expert will also offer guidance on how to quickly and effectively deal with Legionella in your cooling tower so that it remains compliant.
Work With Our Cooling Tower Compliance Experts
Whether you are concerned that Legionella currently exists in your cooling tower or you would like to ensure that you remain compliant with local or state regulations, be sure to trust compliance experts with years of experience. Tower Water would be happy to offer personalized guidance on how to combat Legionella and maintain your cooling tower so that your facility remains compliant with all state and local regulations. Reach out by calling 212.518.6475 or schedule a consultation online to speak with a cooling tower compliance professional today.