In Australia, the NSW Government is planning on implementing stricter cooling tower regulations after dozens of people contracted Legionnaires’ disease this year.
According to ClimateControlNews, NSW Health implemented a group to review current water cooler regulations, identify any issues with such rules, and strengthen current rules. NSW Health also implemented new, stricter laws to ensure the safety of all involved when dealing with water cooling towers.
“Recommendations are being presented and they’re expected in the coming weeks,” said the spokeswoman.
“Different councils in NSW have different processes in place in terms of managing their register of cooling tower systems as you would expect some registers are more up to date than others,” said Nick Duncan, CEO of HydroChem, a water treatment service provider. He believes the present laws in NSW are not as prescriptive compared to other areas and wants more to be done to ensure safety.
Duncan wants to introduce a registration scheme with one central body that maintains an updated list of all cooling systems. One way to increase efficiency is to adjust the number of cycles within a tower. By increasing cooling tower cycles from three to six, cooling tower make-up water and blowdown are actually recused by 20% and 50%, respectively.
“There needs to be risk management approach to minimizing the risk of outbreaks,” Duncan added. “For example, cooling towers systems that are in the vicinity of high numbers of people like the CBD should be maintained at a higher standard.”
Normally, Legionnaires’ disease only occurs in the area between one to four times a month. Over the past few days, however, more and more Australian residents contracted the disease.
“In the past two days we were notified of four cases of Legionnaires’ disease and that’s very unusual,” said Dr. Vicky Sheppeard, NSW Health director of communicable diseases. “People outside can be exposed to the bacteria when a water cooling system emits contaminated water particles into the air.”