As someone who owns a building or manages the operation of a cooling tower, you likely spend time each year considering the efficiency and effectiveness of your cooling system. However, you may not know that cooling towers can pose a significant risk to people’s health if they are not properly maintained. Without a number of strategies in place to prevent the growth of the dangerous bacteria, your cooling towers could quickly become the site of an outbreak.
How Does Legionella Get Into Cooling Towers?
Legionella is a bacterium that thrives in freshwater. This means that any freshwater can sustain it if it has entered the system. Typically, Legionella gets into freshwater through hairline cracks in pipes that let soil and other contaminants into the water. It may also enter during construction, when pipes and the rest of the water system are open to air and introduced to equipment that may be contaminated.
Once a cooling tower’s water system has Legionella, it can begin to spread the bacteria to humans. Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal pneumonia-like infection in humans, can arise when vaporized water droplets come into contact with a person’s mucous membranes. Because Legionnaires’ disease can be deadly in up to 10% of the people who contract it, you must be responsible in maintaining your cooling towers.
Tactics to Manage Risk of Legionella in Cooling Towers
The good news is that managing Legionella can become a simple, standard process as long as you develop strategies as soon as possible. A skilled water treatment expert can review your specific situation and offer personalized guidance for managing the risk of Legionella.
Many municipalities require an annual inspection of cooling towers to ensure they are free from Legionella. However, you may elect to undergo inspections more regularly. If Legionella is caught early, it is much simpler to treat and remove.
Servicing of the Tower
Be sure to keep your tower in good repair so that the machinery is not fouled, cracked, or full of dead legs where water can stagnate. These are all contributors to the growth of Legionella, as they enter from locations in poor condition and then find safety in dead legs or areas protected by biofilms or corrosion.
Consistent Legionella Testing
Legionella testing is a critical aspect of maintaining a safe cooling tower. While strategies to prevent Legionella are an important part of your overall risk management plan, you must still continue to test for the bacteria regularly to ensure that you detect and treat it early if it arises. This also gives you a glimpse into possible failings in your system where the Legionella entered, potentially saving you money on more costly repairs later.
Tower Improvements Over Time
New technological innovations mean that cooling towers are seeing mechanical and operational improvements regularly. It is important that you stay apprised of developments in the operation and assembly of cooling towers so that you can keep your towers up to date. Doing so will make a Legionella outbreak less likely.
Cooling towers are not machinery that you can simply leave without maintenance. Regular cleaning of the tower and its water will play a significant role in preventing the growth of Legionella. A water treatment expert can assist you with this by determining what chemicals or filters your water could benefit from so that bacteria have no foothold to grow.
Why Should You Work With Legionella Professionals?
A skilled Legionella professional is a valuable asset to have when you operate cooling towers. All cooling systems are unique, from their setup to their function, so what works for others may not be as effective for you. An expert who specializes in Legionella management can review your system and provide personalized insight into what methods will work best for you. They can help you remove existing Legionella from your water and prevent it from resurfacing later. Their suggestions may also improve the efficiency, cost effectiveness, and longevity of your systems, so relying on the advice of an expert can offer a number of benefits beyond addressing a Legionella problem.
Rely on the Legionella Testing Professionals
Whether you suspect that you already have Legionella in your system or you would like to develop a plan to ensure that it never becomes a problem, a water treatment expert skilled in Legionella testing can help you. Tower Water would be happy to meet with you to evaluate your cooling tower system and provide individualized guidance about how to conquer Legionella and keep everyone in the vicinity of your cooling towers safe. Reach out to schedule an appointment to speak with an expert so that you can avoid Legionella while extending the life and effectiveness of your cooling systems.