4 Tips for Preventing Legionnaires Disease Around Your Cooling Tower

Cooling towers can be an extremely effective way to manage large-scale cooling, but unfortunately, the water in cooling towers can be the perfect environment to harbour Legionella bacteria, which can cause Legionnaires' disease in people near the cooling tower, who are breathing in its water droplets. To prevent that from happening, here's what you need to do.

1. Keep Water Temps as Low as Possible

Cooling towers work by allowing water to absorb excess heat in order to cool down a building. Through this process, the water gets quite hot, and that can make it attractive for Legionella bacteria. In fact, that bacteria thrives in temperatures ranging from 20 to 40 degrees Celsius.

While you can't control the temperature of the water once it has absorbed the heat, you can control the temperature of the water that goes into the cooling tower. Keep that as low as possible to make the environment inhospitable to bacteria.

2. Control Mist

After the water absorbs the heat, some of it evaporates and leaves the cooling tower as a fine mist. The remaining water falls to the bottom of the tower, where it is recycled back into the system. To ensure that Legionnaire's disease isn't transmitted through that mist, take steps to prevent drift.

You can buy drift eliminators that can be retrofitted onto most cooling towers. Essentially, they look like large filters that fit on the top of the cooling tower or around its sides. They actually catch the water droplets or mist and prevent it from escaping. Instead, the water goes back into the system.

3. Clean the Cooling Tower Often

Ideally, you should clean the components of the cooling tower on a regular basis to remove Legionella bacteria as well as any other germs or bacteria. To make this possible, invest in a cooling tower that has parts that are easy to disassemble.

In particular, you should use a chemical biocide whilst cleaning. Chlorine can work, but you may want to check with a cooling tower or water treatment specialist in your area before choosing your biocide.

4. Clean Before Using

Whether you have just bought a new cooling tower or have decided to reinstate an old cooling tower, you need to clean it thoroughly before you use it. During manufacturing and shipping, cooling towers can harbour all kinds of debris or bacteria, and the same is true of towers that have been in disuse.