Cooling towers are a common component of HVAC equipment, designed to dispose of unwanted heat from an air conditioning system when paired with a water-cooled chiller or condenser. They are a highly efficient and economical means of heat rejection across larger scale air-conditioning and refrigeration plants. For buildings of 10 or more stories, where air cooled chillers may not be viable, cooling tower systems are the most common type of heat rejection systems utilised.
Cooling towers often appear in the media due to the known link and risks in relation to Legionnaires’ Disease. Legionnaires’ Disease has been proven to be associated with cooling tower systems, largely as they operate at the ideal temperatures, and create aerosols which can be drawn into a person’s lungs.
Most building owners and property managers with cooling systems are aware of statutory regulations in their state or territory, that determine maintenance standards for cooling tower systems, and prescribe the process of remedial action when high bacteria or legionella is detected in the cooling tower system.
In general, owners and property managers feel they have everything in place to minimise the risks of legionella.
However what should they do if the statutory process is being followed, yet there are still occasional episodes of high bacteria or legionella detection from their cooling tower system?
How do they navigate through the sea of recommendations and proposals submitted by both the Mechanical Contractor and the Water Treatment Service Provider?
This is where a Risk Management Plan (RMP) is effective. The current Victorian legislated model is generally seen as best practice.