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Cooling Towers and Legionella Prevention

As facility managers prepare for the warmer weather, Goodway Technologies is sharing a reminder not to forget about cooling tower cleaning. A well-maintained cooling tower is always important. Overdue cooling tower maintenance can have a costly impact on efficiency and equipment lifespan, but also pose a serious public health concern.

A dirty cooling tower can result in an overgrowth of infectious bacteria, such as Legionella, and cause an outbreak. According to a survey conducted by Goodway, 88-percent of respondents indicated that Legionella prevention was very important or extremely important from management’s perspective. More than half of survey respondents, comprised of facility managers and personnel in a variety of industries, also acknowledged the potential risk of Legionella from cooling towers comes up in conversation with leadership at least every few months.

Taking the right steps to prevent Legionella isn’t just a personal preference. The introduction of ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 established minimum risk management requirements for building water systems. These specifications provide guidance on logging, maintaining and cleaning cooling towers to mitigate Legionella breakouts.

“Facilities should also have a plan in place, should the possibility of contamination or concerns arise,” said Ray Field, director of liquid solutions at Goodway Technologies. “Our survey shows facilities put a great amount of effort toward implementing cooling tower maintenance programs, frequently conducting visual inspections and making sure a solid water treatment program is in place.”

Cooling tower maintenance should generally occur at least twice a year, preferably before and after the cooling season. The presence of scale, slime or sediment indicates a need to clean the tower. While its importance isn’t new, maintenance is gaining more awareness across engineers and facility management alike. Facility managers and contractors are at the forefront of cost savings for facilities and through proactive maintenance programs, can help deliver considerable cost savings.

What are some proper steps for cooling tower maintenance and cleaning?

  • Inspect towers at least monthly. Sediment, scale and slime can lead to buildup and help legionella grow and thrive. Regular inspections will help determine when to schedule cleaning. 
  • Clean tower basin surfaces. If sediment is visible, the basin needs to be cleaned, and cooling tower vacuums make it easier to remove contaminants without shutting down or draining your system.
  • Clean the fill. The tower fill provides the perfect environment for bacterial growth, especially legionella. A cooling tower fill cleaner will clean limescale and debris and inhibit the growth of other bacteria, when utilized in conjunction with appropriate biocides. Protocols for disinfection of Legionella are well defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Having the right equipment in your lineup

One component of getting the job done effectively and efficiently is having the right equipment. There are clean-in-place solutions that allow you to perform maintenance without shutting the system down. Goodway has a variety of solutions that can help make cleaning cooling towers easier and more effective such as:

CTV-1501: The CTV-1501 cooling tower vacuum is a clean-in-place solution that helps dislodge and vacuum up mud and silt for easy disposal, leaving cooling tower basins cleaner, safer and operating more efficiently.

TFC-200: The TFC-200 is a complete all-in-one system for cleaning limescale, debris and biological matter from your cooling tower fill. The TFC-200 is simple to use, combining Goodway’s innovative, patented chemical solutions and pump technology to dissolve scale deposits, increase water flow and slow dangerous biological build up. There’s no need to remove fill and the cleaning can be performed at the tower location.

SCALEBREAK GEL: This patented formula is a low viscosity, gel-like acidic product, formulated to adhere to and descale mineral deposits from cooling tower fill, or other vertical surfaces. Works with our TFC-200 Cooling Tower Fill cleaner only.

BIOSPRAY TOWER: Cleaning solution that kills 99.9 percent of Legionella pneumophila on cooling tower surfaces. EPA registered. Apply using Goodway’s TFC-200.

Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »   posted on: 5/25/2018

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