The next is a crucial reminder of the necessity for all corporations that use cooling towers, to undertake and keep diligent in their maintenance and water remedy program. Why? because what’s at stake is a corporations worker well being and safety, the company’s status and operational efficiency; these will be dramatically affected by the unsafe situation of a single cooling tower.
In 2001 a significant worldwide auto manufacturer skilled a tragedy when 4 of its services upkeep workers turned in poor health with pneumonia-like symptoms that ultimately claimed the lives of two. The trigger – Legionnaires Illness caused by the Legionella micro organism present in one of many manufacturers process cooling towers. The company shortly moved to conduct a “cause analysis” by inspecting its cooling towers worldwide to identify how techniques had been being maintained and to determine finest upkeep practices. This finally led to the establishment of a world class monitoring and maintenance procedure that ensures such a tragedy will never be repeated at the company.
How a Legionella Tragedy Can Happen
Interestingly, when someone becomes in poor health from an unsafe cooling tower it most frequently just isn’t the results of a company’s blatant negligence; quite, it is sometimes the result of a company not having a transparent understanding of the necessity for his or her water treatment program to be in alignment with an effective debris administration and cooling tower maintenance program. Whereas it may seem obvious that if the amount of debris inside of a cooling tower exceeds the established biocide dosage, the demand placed on the dosage will rapidly be consumed and may have little affect on the bioactivity. In other words, the debris and bioactivity occurring in a cooling tower can overwhelm the chemical dosage. It’s well known and necessary to remember that cooling towers are highly efficient air scrubbers; something drifting past a cooling tower is prone to get caught in its draft and be sucked-in.
When organic debris resembling cottonwood seed, leaves, insects, pollen, grass, birds and their droppings, etc. get into the water and decompose, it along with the relatively warm temperatures of the water create a nutrient rich atmosphere for bacterial development together with Legionella. Additional, it’s necessary to acknowledge that if the volume of decomposing debris exceeds the chemical dosage’s capability to supply management, the cooling tower will silently develop harmful even whereas chemical dosing continues. The fact of the matter is that it’s easy for companies to develop a false sense of safety that their cooling towers are secure either as a result of they’re treating the water themselves or, because they’ve hired a water remedy service to ascertain dosage ranges that should ensure the tower is protected. In either case, if natural debris administration isn’t in alignment with water therapy dosage ranges and made integral to the upkeep process, there may be an elevated likelihood of the tower changing into a health and safety hazard. It does not matter how massive or small an organization or a cooling tower is; micro organism together with Legionella would not discriminate – it should thrive in any poorly managed cooling tower!
An Apparent Query
“What’s the wanted ratio of water treatment chemicals to that of debris load inside the cooling tower to ensure cooling tower safety?” Though the question is apparent, the reply is not. Organic debris is drawn into cooling towers in different concentrations relying upon location and time of yr. Every type of debris locations a special demand upon the biocides and scale inhibitors being dosed into the water; therefore, there is no known ratio that can hold fixed for each cooling tower. However, it is secure to say that if you don’t deploy diligent maintenance procedures that particularly name for the prevention of natural debris from entering into the cooling tower or its periodic removing, extra water remedy chemicals might be required to keep it safe. Some could say, “load the tower up with chemicals to make sure safety”, however, federal and state EPA pointers place restrictions on the quantity and sort of chemicals that can be used, due to this fact the use of chemical therapy alone isn’t the solution. Furthermore, adding chemicals to offset poor upkeep practices is a shortcut that will do little to forestall fouling and clogging of the fill, strainers, blow down valves, chiller and heat exchangers and will ultimately result in health and security problems and a reduction in gear efficiency. Though the reply to the chemical ratio to debris query isn’t obvious, the answer to how to maintain a secure cooling tower is crystal clear and will be merely stated -“Keep the cooling tower freed from debris and deploy a good water therapy program and your cooling tower will function safely and efficiently.” This will sound like an over simplification, but in actuality if you retain the debris out of the cooling tower, you will break the bacteria supporting meals chain. Moreover, once you chemically deal with the water you create an setting non-conducive to micro organism habitation. In brief, once you eradicate food and shelter for micro organism it will not take-up residence in your cooling tower!
How to keep a Safe Cooling Tower
In recent years ASHRAE has established glorious recommendations for cooling tower maintenance generally known as Guideline 12. In addition to recommending maintenance actions, it also requires establishing procedures which can be measurable. Though ASHRAE pointers are excellent, companies should in the end weigh the operational and economic realities of any maintenance process they deploy. As the previous saying goes “There’s a couple of technique to skin a cat”. If on the one hand upkeep procedures are too frequent, cumbersome or complicated, it commonly results in additional downtime, misplaced productivity and higher maintenance prices. Furthermore, the pure human tendency is to take shortcuts to quickly full an unpleasant job – typically instances with unsatisfactory outcomes. Conversely, if the intervals between upkeep are too lengthy, it could also be extra cost efficient, but the condition of the cooling tower at every interval may be lower than desirable and potentially place upkeep workers, employees, tenants and the public at risk. So the answer largely lies someplace within the middle where water therapy and managing debris within the tower come together.
As we speak, firms have many options available to them for managing debris; they include a variety of water based mostly filtration applied sciences and air intake filtration expertise. Water filtration will help manage waterborne and different debris after it will get into the cooling water whereas Air intake filtration expertise is extremely effective at stopping airborne debris from entering into the tower by filtering the air as it enters the system. . Moreover, air intake filtration could be utilized in glycol based mostly cooling techniques and on other air-cooled condenser programs to maintain airborne debris out of the coils, enabling optimum cooling efficiency.
When determining what upkeep and debris administration know-how to use, it is very important first determine what the supply of debris is. If the supply of debris is waterborne (e.g.; sediment, algae from pond or river, or water with excessive dissolved solids content), water filtration together with a good water therapy program is typically the very best resolution and can protect the chiller and heat exchanger from scaling and fouling. If alternatively, the source of debris is airborne related (cottonwood seed, insects, leaves, pine needles, paper, birds & droppings, harvest chaff, development debris, and so on), then water filtration programs won’t stop the debris from moving into the cooling tower (particularly the fill). For airborne debris related problems, the best resolution is to forestall the debris from stepping into the system by utilizing air intake filtration technology that filters the air as it enters the system. Air intake filtration together with a very good water remedy program is very effective in stopping the type of debris that clogs strainers, blow down valves, fill, chillers and heat exchangers – Briefly, air intake filtration effectively protects all the system. In excessive circumstances the place each waterborne and airborne debris is problematic, both air intake filtration and water filtration together with an excellent water treatment program may be required in order to maintain the cooling tower protected and operating efficiently.
No matter what procedures are adopted in maintaining cooling towers, private security precautions must be integral to the maintenance procedures. Greatest practices require employees to wear respirators, gloves and protecting clothing to assist forestall publicity to micro organism, particularly Legionella. Necessary Word: cooling water does not need to look dirty to be harmful – simply because the water is evident doesn’t mean it is clear or free of bacteria – Every cooling tower can harbor bacteria. Always, all the time take precautions because except the water is routinely tested for Legionella and other bacteria, the micro organism won’t ever announce its presence till it is too late.
Consider the prices of a Sick Tower
Firms that do not take acceptable precautions and insist upon diligent cooling tower maintenance procedures put not only their staff well being and safety in danger, but in addition their enterprise and status. Consider the cost of a single cooling tower related Legionella incident:
– Decreased employee ethical and productiveness as a result of an unsafe work environment.
– Damaging customer perceptions of the corporate and their willingness to purchase items & providers should a Legionella outbreak turn out to be public. (especially dangerous for meals and associated processors)
– Lack of revenue to families when a cherished one turns into in poor health or die from Legionella.
– High price for litigation which might observe.
– Greater firm insurance coverage prices when claims because of job related sickness or demise occur.
Compared to the cost of a proactive maintenance initiative, the incidents listed above when considered individually or collectively carry staggering price.
Comply with a frontrunner
So that you could also be questioning exactly how the main automotive firm talked about at the beginning took a tragic state of affairs and turned it right into a world-class maintenance program. They formed an oversight committee sponsored by executive management, that was charged with the duty of working with consultants, water treatment professionals and maintenance employees to establish a worldwide water administration program that encompasses specific maintenance tasks, upkeep methods & procedures, upkeep schedules, management accountabilities and reporting pointers at the ability degree. The consultant at every facility is accountable to a regional representative who experiences activities and results to the oversight committee. The establishment of the oversight committee and its international administration community ensures uniformity of their program plus, offers the corporate a automobile to rapidly implement adjustments and enhancements that provide continuous improvement to their world water management program.