If you are the owner or a perspective owner of cooling towers, one risk that you should be fully aware of is the potential for the development of Legionnaire’s disease in the pools of your towers. With the water disaster in Flint, MI (which is absolutely tragic and inexcusable) awareness of Legionnaires disease is on the climb because so many are currently being affected by it. While the development of Legionnaires disease is easily avoidable, understanding the disease is still important.
Legionella is the bacteria that involved with outbreaks of Legionellosis, which can develop into Pontiac Fever or Legionnaires disease. While Pontiac Fever tends to pass through your system on its own, Legionnaires disease is a form of pneumonia that requires a hospital stay to eradicate. The mortality range of Legionnaires disease is 5%-30% which is alarming enough to take every measure to avoid its development.
The most common way that Legionnaires Disease is transmitted through water that has been aerosolized, which is why cooling tower owners need to be educated and aware of this disease. A less common way that it can be transmitted is via drinking water. While it is possible to become fatally ill, most people who actually come into contact with the disease do not fall ill and the disease cannot be passed from one person to another.
Legionella occurs naturally in fresh water, but it isn’t pervasive enough to cause illness. It’s when Legionella starts to prop up in artificially heated and contained bodies of water. These environments accelerate the growth of Legionella and are almost ideal for it to develop enough to become problematic for humans.
Performing regular maintenance on your cooling tower is the easiest and most effective way to avoid experiencing any problems related to Legionella, especially Legionnaires Disease.