As you consider how to keep your facility running without issue for as long as possible, your cooling tower is one of the aspects you must keep in mind. Cooling towers are one of the most common origin sources of Legionella outbreaks, which means that it is critical that you maintain a regular and comprehensive Legionella prevention plan at your facility.
How To Prevent Legionella
In order to prevent Legionella in your cooling tower, consider the following strategies so that you not only prevent the development of a potentially deadly bacteria but also remain in compliance with local and state regulations.
Establish A Water Management Strategy
One of the most powerful tools at your disposal for Legionella prevention in cooling towers is a water management plan. The water in your cooling tower is the culprit behind Legionella outbreaks because this is where the bacteria live.
Understanding where your water comes from is the first step; you may utilize city water from a plant, you may take surface water from reservoirs or your building might rely on water from a well. Each of these scenarios will present different risk factors in terms of the biological material in the water and what it has already been treated with, if anything.
A water management plan will dictate how you treat your water, with what and how often. Surface water, for example, benefits greatly from antimicrobial attention. Which type of chemical treatment is best for your water will vary and depends entirely on the unique aspects of your system, which is why following a boilerplate approach is not the most effective option.
A skilled water treatment professional can offer customized guidance that tackles the individual weak areas faced by your building so that you use the correct combinations of chemicals, algaecides and other treatment to correct your water’s pH balance, hardness and more. This water treatment plan should recur regularly; simply treating your water once is not sufficient to prevent Legionella in cooling towers.
Clean And Disinfect Regularly
Another important part of keeping a cooling tower free of Legionella bacteria is cleaning and disinfecting. While it is true that your water management plan should be doing some heavy lifting when it comes to keeping your system free of problems such as biofilms, you will still need to manually clean and repair the equipment that makes your system run.
Scrub the surface of the basin, and check the filters to ensure that they are not becoming fouled and to remove sludge. Not only can these dirty areas impact the efficiency of your system, leading to higher energy bills as your cooling tower works harder to achieve the same result, but they can also provide a safe haven for Legionella bacteria to find shelter from the chemicals and water treatment strategies that you are using in your water management plan.
It is considered smart to alternate between oxidizing and non-oxidizing biocides and antimicrobials to be sure that you catch everything that could be growing in your tower, but this alone will not replace the physical act of cleaning surfaces within the tower.
Be aware that you should consider wearing personal protective equipment like an N95 mask when cleaning cooling tower surfaces in case Legionella is present, or you can leave this task to the professionals.
Control Risk Factors
Preventing Legionella is a better outcome than treating it once it arises, and one of the most effective means of stopping the bacteria in its tracks is to control your tower’s risk factors. If you are struggling to maintain water temperature, you could be giving Legionella the perfect place to grow; shield your tower from the sun.
If you have dead legs and other areas in the system where water does not flow regularly or is stagnant, replace or alter these sections so that water flows consistently; this will ensure that your water treatment chemicals and strategies are passing through the entire system so that Legionella has no place to hide. If your drift eliminators are wearing down and showing gaps, replace or repair them so that spray generated from the tower does not enter the air.
Work With Professionals
Whether you are looking for ways to prevent Legionella before it starts in your cooling tower or you suspect that the bacteria may already be present, it is important to establish a relationship with a skilled Legionella compliance and water treatment company.
The experts at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and can offer personalized guidance for how to prevent Legionella in your specific cooling tower. Reach out to schedule an appointment with a pro to discuss your options and develop a long-term plan.