It is important that you take good care of your water supply. The bacteria that causes legionnaires disease can easily get in and multiply, getting people sick through contact with mist. If you’re maintaining cooling towers and need information about Legionnaires disease, talk to your supervisor or look for information online. Legionnaires in the water supply can get people sick, potentially even killing some of them. It is extremely important that you know everything you can about what it is and how it spreads when you’re in charge of keeping the water supply safe.
Legionella disease symptoms are likely to show up after contact with infected water. It is a respiratory disease, so people might have difficulty breathing or stomach issues. Legionnaires can be deadly, so if there are cases in your area, you need to get legionella testing done on your cooling towers and any other water sources you have. This testing is critical. While the disease is not contagious, the fact that it can be contracted due to inhalation of mist from these sources makes it easy to spread.
Are your cooling towers as safe as they could be? Structure and materials aren’t everything: if you’re not paying attention to your water, you’re putting everyone in the tower’s vicinity at risk.
Wet cooling tower systems can actually be prime locations for the growth of Legionella, which can cause Legionnaires’ disease and other severe medical complications. People can contract these diseases through exposure to aerosols, or inhaling mist droplets that contain the bacteria.
Cooling towers used in domestic hot water systems, fountains, open recirculating evaporative cooling water system and other systems that tap into the water supply can be sources of Legionella, as can freshwater creaks and ponds.
Legionella bacteria traveled at least 3.7 miles through the air when a large wet cooling tower at a petrochemical plant in Pas-de-Calais, France was contaminated. Laboratories confirmed that 86 people were infected by Legionella from the plant, and their were 21 fatalities.
There are safety measures companies can employ to prevent Legionella outbreaks from industrial cooling towers. Water droplets that escape through the top of the cooling tower are known as drift or windage. Drift eliminators that manage the flow of discharge can prevent a high quantity of water droplets from escaping and even reduces water loss to make the system run more efficiently.
Biocides can also be used to kill organisms in tandem with filters and algaecides. Micro-organisms that form into dangerous biofilms can also be reduced with the use of chlorine and other water-treatment chemicals.
Keeping water clean and carefully treated is crucial to running safe and efficient wet cooling towers. Safety guidelines are available from a number of sources including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Cooling Technology Institute and The Association of Water Technologies.