The cooling tower has become a crucial part of cooling systems and is now present in every commercial facility. It helps HVAC systems to transfer excess heat from the different processing equipment and machinery used in the manufacturing facilities while maintaining optimal temperature. And like any other equipment, cooling towers also need to be regularly and properly maintained to ensure efficiency.
However, the drawbacks of poorly maintained cooling towers are not economical. It can also cause health hazards within the facilities. Bacteria, insects, pollen, dust, debris, and other particles inside the cooling tower serve as an ideal environment for bacterial growth. An infestation will only cause reduced heat transfer efficiency and clogged piping but can also lead to the development of harmful Legionnaires disease-causing bacteria.
Why Is Legionella a Concern for cooling tower operators?
Legionnaires disease is a severe type of pneumonia that affects the lungs and is caused by legionella. It’s generally present in local water sources in benign amounts. The health risk arises when these bacteria are allowed to grow and spread without being treated, particularly in industrial cooling systems. It can rapidly grow in stagnant water and multiply to dangerous levels if left untreated.
These microbes are capable of colonizing in warm water environments, including domestic HVAC systems and cooling towers. In cooling towers, the outdoor air intakes are located downwind of the towers. While transferring heat to cool down the warm water, the vapour is released into the air. This moist air can carry the Legionella bacteria and expel them into the air and ventilation. The expelled Legionella bacteria can be inhaled by the building occupant and cause a massive Legionnaires outbreak.
What leads to legionella growth in cooling towers?
There are various factors in play that become a cause of legionella growth in cooling towers and can become a breeding ground for it. Some of the main causes of Legionella are:
Scaling: Scaling is the deposition and accumulation of unwanted materials and minerals from the water, collected inside the water system. It’s a layer of solid build-up, which interferes with the efforts of heating or cooling the water. It can lead to unpredictable or higher water temperature and serve as a breeding ground for bio-growths. As a result, legionella and other bacteria proliferate due to scale build-up in the cooling water systems.
Sediment: Sediment is the left-over solids of minerals and natural material that is left down in water sources from the processes of erosion. It grows in unfiltered water that is not properly treated and may grow in a protected environment due to poor maintenance. When sediment builds up, it leads to more germ build-up including legionella and also compromises the heating and cooling systems.
Stagnation & pH: When water is stagnant without proper care and maintenance, it gives an opportunity to biofilm for growth. The other reason for stagnant water may also include pipes that have low to no flow of water. As a result, this sitting water gets warmer, creating an ideal environment for bacteria, like legionella. Which is why it’s essential to maintain a required level of pH balance of the water is between 6.5 and 8.5. The chemicals, changes in the environment due to pollution, and the amount of plant or organic material in water influence also helps bio growths in the water sources
Unfortunately, many facility managers still undermine the importance of cooling tower maintenance in preventing Legionella growth. Oftentimes, facility managers and even some cooling tower suppliers don’t schedule maintenance and inspection works until a major problem occurs. With a proper water management system, you will not only guarantee efficiency, reliability, and longevity but also prevent costly repairs and replacements as well as bacteria growths.
Importance of cooling tower water treatment
A proper cooling tower water treatment like SBR can help you with the prevention of Legionnaires disease in the long run. Cooling towers hold large amounts of water, which makes them an ideal environment for the growth of Legionella bacteria. To avoid the growth of Legionella bacteria, SBR performs regular and proper cleaning and maintenance, as well as effective cooling tower water treatment.
With our innovative cooling tower water treatment, you can ensure that the water in your cooling system is always in pristine condition. With SBR, you will not only prevent untimely downtime, but also the growth and production of Legionella bacteria within your cooling system.