Cooling towers are some of the most valuable pieces of equipment for commercial buildings. They are easy to take for granted as out of sight, out of mind, but they are responsible for atmospheric control in your facility and keeping the air cool.
However, their constant use and the venting that connects your entire building to a tower also means that any bacteria growing in the machinery itself has a fast track to almost every room in your entire structure.
How To Create A Cooling Tower Legionella Prevention Plan
It is important that you create a Legionella prevention plan to avoid the risk of serious or even fatal illness should harmful bacteria begin to proliferate in your cooling tower. Developing a comprehensive prevention plan always includes the following.
Organize A Team You Trust
Legionella can appear seemingly out of nowhere, and if you want until it arises to establish connections and trustworthy relationships, you will find yourself scrambling. It is important to create a team that you can trust before Legionella ever becomes a problem.
From the staff at your facility who are in charge of ensuring that your prevention plan goes off without a hitch every time to the experts you call to test your water and the compliance professionals who help you abide by local and state regulations, create a trustworthy team during the peaceful times so that you know who to call when there is a crisis.
Sample Your Water Regularly
Legionella is not detectable by the naked eye, which means that you will need to conduct regular water sampling to ascertain what sorts of bacteria are living in your water system. In addition to learning more about the composition of your water through sampling, you will also quickly be able to review and understand if there is an issue with your Legionella prevention plan.
Ideally, you will sample so often that any Legionella that arises will be caught long before it turns into a dangerous outbreak. Regular water testing is one of the most important parts of a Legionella prevention plan.
Tackle Degradation Issues Quickly
Your water system will not remain pristine forever no matter how diligent you are. Scale, corrosion, rust and other issues will begin to afflict systems as they age, but you do not have to (and should not) simply assume that this is an unavoidable feature of doing business.
Adjusting the composition of your water and regularly cleaning and disinfecting your system can dramatically reduce corrosion, biofilm, and the buildup of scale and other unwanted materials, which serve as safe havens and breeding grounds for bacteria who gain a foothold in your system. Water testing can also inform you about your facility’s water pH and hardness, among other factors that contribute to these issues.
Determine The Right Water Temperature
Legionella tends to flourish at temperatures between 77 and 108 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this is also the common range to maintain water temperatures in buildings. However, if you overcompensate and crank your water temperature up above 132 degrees, in which Legionella can no longer survive, you run the risk of scalding anyone who comes in contact with the water.
This could also result in compliance issues with your state or local government, who have their own restrictions on maximum water temperatures for safety reasons. Work with a pro to ascertain the right water temperature for your building that inhibits Legionella but also keeps people safe.
Fix Water Stagnation
Dead legs and areas in your system where water does not often flow can become breeding grounds for bacteria, since your water treatment methods may not reach these areas as thoroughly.
Regularly flush these legs of your system or remove them from the system entirely so that your water is not stagnating. When your entire system works efficiently from point A to point B, you will see greater success with water treatment and other strategies that prevent the growth and spread of Legionella bacteria.
Work With The Pros To Craft A Legionella Prevention Plan
Whether you believe that you may have Legionella in your system already or you need assistance determining which approaches will work best to mitigate the problem before it arises, do not forget to establish a relationship with a reputable Legionella prevention company.
The experts at Tower Water would be happy to help you understand which strategies for prevention would work best in your facility and offer a personalized plan to keep you in compliance with all regulations. Reach out to schedule an appointment with our experts to discuss your options and create a Legionella prevention program for your cooling tower, including registration and other key legal requirements.