Cooling towers are complex, with many moving parts, and maintaining them properly can feel like a challenge. One of the aspects of a comprehensive care strategy for your cooling tower is consistent disinfection year-round.
However, the summer months are particularly critical when it comes to keeping your cooling tower clean and disinfected, which is why it is important that you understand not only how to maintain a safe cooling tower but also why. Your summer disinfection needs will be slightly different than what you may be used to during the rest of the year.
Why Disinfection Became Mandatory
As recently as about 40 years ago, the world had much less of an understanding about the unique risks posed by cooling towers. Then, hundreds of people suddenly fell ill, and the cause was not clear. Slowly, some of them died, and it was not until numerous fatalities had occurred that medical professionals and scientists discovered that Legionella, a bacteria that can thrive in cooling towers, was the cause.
Legionella bacteria proliferate quickly, especially in tepid water, which is a recipe for problems during the warmest months of the year when a cooling tower’s water supply is being heated by the sun.
As a cooling tower operates, it produces vapor through evaporation in order to perform its heat exchange. If Legionella exists within the water that is converted to mist, contaminated water droplets can enter the air and potentially travel for miles. Thus, stringent regulations were put into place to make regular disinfection of cooling towers necessary so that Legionella could not flourish and make people ill.
What Makes Summertime Disinfection Different
Disinfection of a cooling tower is required all year round which is keeping bacteria in check and low required levels daily; however, the specific process during the summer includes some extra steps to ensure that the tower remains safe to operate and that Legionella is not prevalent.
One of the primary differences is that between July and August, a process called hyperhalogenation is required, in New York City. This term refers to the act of maintaining a minimum of 5 ppm of free halogen residual over the course of at least six hours.
Doing this alters the state of the water quality in a cooling tower and reduces biofilm and inhibits the growth of Legionella bacteria. Generally, cooling towers are only required to participate in hyperhalogenation once per year, during the summer months, which makes the task season-specific.
The Process And Benefits Of Disinfection
It can be easy to feel as though keeping up with all of the regular maintenance and inspections required to successfully manage a cooling tower is overwhelming. However, you can expect a variety of benefits from disinfection aside from simply complying with state and local mandates.
The process of disinfection includes not only hyperhalogenation but also surface cleaning and a reevaluation of your water treatment plan to ensure that microorganisms, rust and other concerns are not an issue in your water system. When you make an effort to regularly and thoroughly clean and disinfect your cooling tower, you prevent the buildup of sludge and biological material that can foul your system.
When problems like biofilms develop, they can block filtration and compromise the proper working order of equipment, resulting in damage or even the need for replacement.
Additionally, when a cooling tower is clean and free of debris, it can function as intended. This may seem like a given, but a tower that must work harder to overcome sludge and unclean surfaces will consume more energy in order to produce the same result.
This leads to higher utility costs, and you may also need to replace equipment or even the entire tower prematurely as the machinery degrades faster than it should. Relying on a professional service to treat your water and keep your cooling tower in good working order is not only a compliance issue but also a wise decision and an investment in your future.
You can ensure that your cooling tower continues to function well for its entire life span instead of constantly needing repairs and pushing your utility bills higher over time.
Work With Our Water Treatment Experts For Best Results
Whether you are unsure how to maintain compliance with the hyperhalogenation requirement or you simply need guidance and a reliable expert for your regular cooling tower water treatment and maintenance, be sure to establish a relationship with a skilled professional.
The technicians at Tower Water set the standard in water treatment and would be happy to advise you about how to remain compliant with your cooling tower and the specific risks that are inherent in your individual system. Reach out to schedule an appointment with a professional to stay on top of your summertime disinfection needs.