Are Your Facility’s Cooling Towers at Risk?

Large View Cooling Tower

Legionella, the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease, is a bacterium that can be isolated in environments such as lakes, rivers, streams, and man-made water structures. Legionnaires’ disease is a serious type of lung infection often associated with cough, shortness of breath, fever, as well as muscle aches and headaches. Elderly, smokers, and those with weakened immune systems are most susceptible.

“The incidence of legionellosis is of significant concern to public health authorities and to facility owners and managers responsible for the operation and maintenance of industrial and building water systems… outbreaks of legionellosis have been traced to water systems including domestic water services (tanks, showers, faucets, stagnant warm pipes), cooling towers and evaporative condensers, process waters, spas/whirlpools, nebulizers, vegetable misters, ice machines, decorative fountains, and other aerosol producing sources,” (ASHRAE).

Cooling towers in facilities such as industrial buildings, food and agriculture plants, health care and assisted living homes are the most prominent to be affected.

The Rise of Legionnaires' Disease

Image link (CDC).

“Fortunately, exposure to Legionella is preventable, but only if health-related risks are assessed and preventive practices are implemented. Unfortunately, of the facilities and water systems that would benefit from a formal risk assessment, only small fractions have been properly assessed,” (ASHRAE).

Wenck has Certified Water Technologists to help assess risk, develop a plan, and implement training/audits with client’s operations staff. Our multidisciplinary team provides solutions and routine maintenance beyond project completion. In addition, we also have an Emergency Response team that shows up when called upon 24/7 with the right equipment and knowledge to mitigate contamination.

To ensure health, safety, and welfare are at the forefront of your facility, contact Rebecca Carlson at 763.252.6824 or

ASHRAE link.  

The Rise of Legionnaires' Disease

Rebecca Kluckhohn

Wenck Author

Rebecca Carlson

P.E. (MN) | Principal