Cooling towers are the perfect breeding ground for the Legionella bacteria that causes the potentially fatal Legionnaire's disease. Legionella thrives in hot environments, and the disease is spread by breathing in droplets of infected water. Given that that an outbreak of Legionella in Sydney this year (2016) was suspected to be caused by a cooling tower, it's important to make sure yours is resistant to the bacteria. Does your plant's cooling tower have the following 5 components? If not, it's time to talk to a cooling tower design contractor about improving your system.
Does Your Tower Have Drift Eliminators?
Given that Legionnaire's disease is contracted by breathing in infected water droplets, it's essential to reduce as much vapour drift as possible. Drift eliminators handle this job effectively, greatly reducing drift loss and keeping infected water away from workers and surrounding people. Drift eliminators are especially important in towers with fans, as the high exhaust speeds increase the amount of drift.
Is the Water Level Adequately Controlled?
If your tower's water overflows, any Legionella bacteria will overflow with it, releasing infected vapours into the atmosphere. It's crucial to monitor and control the water level at all times to avoid this. Even if you have a mechanical valve, you may want to switch to an electrical monitor for increased precision.
Are Your Pipes Efficient?
Draining and cleaning is essential in reducing the potential for infection. Pipework needs to work efficiently in order to keep everything sterile. Any sections that can become stagnant will provide the perfect place for Legionella bacteria to live and grow, quickly spreading through the whole tower. If your pipes cannot be easily empties and flushed with treatments, it's time to think about having them reworked.
What Is Your Tower Made From?
It's important that your tower and pipework are all constructed from materials that are easily cleaned and resistant to bacteria growth and corrosion. It's not uncommon for older towers to be made using materials like untreated wood, which allow bacteria to grow comfortably. If this is the case at your plant you'll want to switch to materials like steel and plastic, which can be cleaned with chemicals and do not provide pockets for Legionella microbes to take hold.
Can Humans Move Around Your Tower?
If Legionnaire's is suspected, you'll need to have someone assess your tower to confirm the presence of bacteria and highlight the problem areas. Are the places in your tower where bacteria could grow accessible by human inspectors? You'll need people to be able to reach all parts with water, including the drift eliminators and any place where water is dispensed and distributed. Accessibility is also important for maintenance and regular cleaning to prevent the disease before it starts.Share
25 July 2016
Welcome to my blog! My name is Richard and my big passion in life is looking for old buildings to restore. My love of old buildings started when I was seven years old and I visited my grandparent's house in Alice Springs. It was a large Victorian building which looked magnificent even though it was in a bad state of repair. Once I grew up and made some money, I decided I would like to invest in old buildings to bring them back to life. I hire a range of different contractors to complete the work on my behalf but I take a keen interest and I have learnt a lot of things.