Goodway’s Ray Field and CDC’s Nancy Messonnier, MD on How Your Facility can Best Prevent Legionella Outbreaks

It’s likely that most facility managers in New York City have already heard the news this week about a police officer infected with Legionnaire Disease (LD). A poorly maintained water supply system at his police station was the likely source for a widespread disease that’s seen a quadrupling of reported cases in the last 15 years.

Legionnaires’ Disease Outbreaks Trending Up

As the summer heat begins to put a strain on facility cooling towers, more facility-triggered outbreaks are likely to follow. According to Ray Field, Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, the upward trend in outbreaks will likely continue over the next few years as sub-standard maintenance practices, the wrong maintenance tools and shrinking maintenance budgets continue to hamper progress.  In a related podcast entitled Legionella Outbreaks: Preventive Maintenance Practices and Chemical Solutions to Minimize Risk of Occurrence, Ray discusses the challenges facility managers face when battling the resilient bacteria.

“What it comes down to is good industrial hygienic practices,” Field says. “And if you look at cooling towers, in my estimation, they can be neglected in terms of care or maintenance up front when they’re started, in terms of washing them down, getting rid of scale accumulation in the tower fill that causes the air/water intimate contact that causes the cooling with the fan. Both chemical and mechanical solutions are really the best way to approach it, followed by a well-maintained water treatment program.” This is consistent with statements in the recent American National Standards Institute approved ASHRAE Standard 188 – 2015 entitled “Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems.”

Just recently, the CDC arrived at a similar conclusion after analyzing 2,809 confirmed LD cases reported from 20 states and NYC. The report summarized that the number one way for facility managers to mitigate LD risk is to better manage and maintain the building’s water supply system. The study also revealed that roughly 80% of LD outbreaks in facilities were preventable and healthcare facilities in particular were more susceptible due, in part, to their more vulnerable populations and more complex water supply systems.

Here are three additional takeaways from the study:

• Legionella grows well in building water systems that are not adequately managed such as those in which disinfectant levels are low or water temperatures are warm.
• The size and complexity of the facility’s water system may increase the risk for Legionella growth.
• Effective water management and maintenance programs are highly recommended to prevent Legionella growth in buildings with large or complex water systems.

Facility Water System Components Susceptible to Legionella Growth

Legionella can grow in parts of building water systems that are continually wet, and certain devices can spread contaminated water droplets via aerosolization. Examples of these system equipment, components and devices include:

  • Cooling towers
  • Hot and cold water storage tanks
  • Water heaters
  • Water-hammer arrestors
  • Pipes, valves, and fittings
  • Expansion tanks
  • Water filters
  • Electronic and manual faucets
  • Aerators
  • Faucet flow restrictors
  • Shower heads and hoses
  • Centrally-installed misters, atomizers, air washers, and humidifiers
  • Non-steam aerosol-generating humidifiers
  • Eyewash stations
  • Ice machines
  • Hot tubs/saunas
  • Decorative fountains

How to Implement a Water Supply Management and Maintenance Program

To help facility managers and building owners prevent future outbreaks, the CDC also prepared a comprehensive thirty-six page water supply management guide to implementing industry standards. Facility managers who have previously implemented a risk management system will be familiar with its structure and the recommended stages:

  • Describe your building, its use and occupants, the plumbing and water handling equipment, with special attention to dead-legs or low flow areas, and outlets that form droplets
  • Analyze your water system to identify points where Legionella might grow due to suitable temperatures, or post-heating destruction of disinfectant, increased contaminants or other factors.

Here’s a helpful building water supply system flow diagram provided in the guide:

Working Smarter and OutSmarting Bacteria

Cooling tower and other equipment susceptible to bacteria growth (hot tubs, showers, fountains, air conditioning) may require a complete shut-down that takes time, inconveniences patrons and costs money.  However, “clean-in-place” (CIP) maintenance solutions may drastically decrease the time, labor and burden of maintaining a water supply management program. For example, with the Goodway Cooling Tower Vacuum there’s no need to drain the tower – you can clean it while the tower is still online. Cooling demand is not interrupted, nor is the comfort of occupants. CIP solutions are typically more efficient and effective when compared to non-CIP solutions. For example, Goodway’s TFC-200 Cooling Tower Fill Cleaner used with a ScaleBreak Gel Descaler begins dissolving scale and grime from cooling tower fill on contact. This low viscosity acidic product is formulated specifically to adhere to and descale mineral deposits from cooling tower fill.

Final Thoughts: Clean Upfront

Whether a facility manager is in charge of an enormous water supply system or a modest system, cleaning up front takes priority over establishing a water supply program. In other words, basic preventive maintenance (PM) as equipment comes online for the first time or back online for the season must be your first step. That means using vacuums, pressure washers and the proper chemicals to safely and effectively remove scale.

Remember, your upfront PM should consider chemical and mechanical solutions that minimize labor costs and maximize effectiveness. Only then do you follow up with a well-maintained, measurable water management and treatment program. 

Next Steps:

 

Let’s Talk Legionella with Ray Field, Director of Liquid Solutions

ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 has everyone in the industry raising the subject on the most effective way to manage Legionella, including more comprehensive cooling tower maintenance strategies and how these can promote better IAQ. This September 12th – 14th, at the upcoming ASHRAE IAQ Conference, Ray Field, Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, will discuss a five-step preventative maintenance program that answers some of the most common cooling tower questions facility managers and contractors have when combating Legionella and improving IAQ for more efficient HVAC systems.

Goodway_Ray_Field“Putting together a maintenance plan and developing proper procedures is no longer optional. Managers need to take these steps now to minimize the risks of an outbreak occurring in a facility.”

– Ray Field, Director of Liquid Solutions

Learn More

 

Studies have shown that 40 – 60 percent of cooling towers test positive for Legionella. Early detection and action can prevent rapid growth and spreading, but deferred Legionella maintenance can only reduce the performance of system equipment even more – causing higher energy expenses, irreparable equipment breakdowns, or costly replacements.

Check out this related content:

Owners of these human occupied buildings and those involved in the design, construction, installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance and service of centralized water building systems are held responsible for outbreaks and are currently holding the lives of its pedestrians in their hands. Don’t drop the ball on proper cooling tower cleaning. Learn what can be done to control the growth of Legionella in HVAC systems and prevent risking the health of others in the community.

For more information on the conference and how to register, click here.

 

6 Things You Should Know About Legionella

Just last August, about 120 people in the South Bronx were infected with Legionnaires’ Disease and 12 people died. At the time, up to 5 cooling towers in the area tested positive for Legionella, a fatal bacteria that grows in warm, damp environments and can spread once contaminated water has become aerosolized and the vapor is inhaled.

In this post, we’ll be discussing where Legionella can be found and in our infographic, we’re sharing 6 things you should know about this hazardous bacteria.

According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), temperatures of 32°C-40°C (90°-105°F) are ideal for growth and rust, scale and the presence of other microorganisms also promote growth. Legionella can occur in any location where water is warm and has potential to become aerosolized or misted. 

Some environments where Legionella can be found are in:

Legionella Goodway •  Cooling towers
•  Hot water tanks
•  Large air conditioning systems
•  Humidifiers
•  Whirlpool spas
•  Hot water systems
•  Ice making machines

During last year’s Legionella outbreaks in the South Bronx, large cooling towers from local hotels, hospitals, and educational facilities were found to be responsible for contaminating the outdoor air quality and infecting the community. “The scary part of it is that 40% to 60% of cooling towers, through different studies, have shown that they’re positive for Legionella,” said Ray Field, Chemical Expert, during a podcast last year discussing the issue.

Find out more about Goodway Cooling Tower Cleaning Solutions.

There are several other important things you should know about Legionella before tackling sick cooling towers that may be infected. View our infographic to see 6 more facts about Legionella.

Next steps:

Download Goodway’s 6 Facts About Legionella infographic containing information from trusted Legionella sources here.

 

 

 

 

Outdoor Air Quality: Laudable Effort or Legal Expectation?

Issue of Outdoor Air Quality for HVAC IndustryAre companies responsible for reduced outdoor air quality caused by infected or dirty cooling towers? As it stands, citizens have no legal expectation of clean air. With urban pollution rising and environmental litigation becoming a viable option, however, businesses need to think twice about the outside impact of poorly maintained cooling systems.

Urban Issues

Pollution in metropolitan centers has been on the rise for decades. Now, citizens and watchdog groups are taking action in hopes of improving outdoor air quality. It’s a significant concern; as noted by the World Health Organization (WHO), outdoor air pollution contributes to 6.7 percent of all deaths.

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The Dangers of Deferred HVAC Maintenance

CTV1501_Cooling_Tower_Vacuum_In_useCompanies are on the hook to cut costs; staff, services and technology all fall under the ax of balanced books. In an effort to minimize day-to-day impacts, many businesses are turning to deferred maintenance —putting off required repairs or upgrades on HVAC systems and cooling towers until they’re absolutely necessary or the unit fails. The problem? As noted by a HealthCareCAN report, this is a “short term solution with long-term consequences unless additional resources are provided at a later date.” Best case? Cooling towers fail and you’re out time and money. Worst case? Killer infections. Here’s a look at the pitfalls of deferred maintenance for HVAC units.

Big Savings, Big Problems?

At first glance deferred maintenance seems like a reasonable solution to an immediate need: If HVAC and other systems are still performing within expected parameters it’s easy to put off maintenance until the “next budget.” If the same scenario exists a year later deferring again only makes sense, right?

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Water Wasters: Poorly-Maintained Cooling Towers Foul Up Savings

Water Wasters Poorly-Maintained Cooling Towers Foul Up SavingsMany commercial buildings depend on the efficient performance of water cooling towers. According to the Los Angeles Times, however, older towers are effectively “swamp coolers” in disguise, piping down water so corrosive it can’t be used for a second cycle. The result? Big money to cool even small spaces, along with a real risk of diseases like Legionnaires.

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We’re Heating Things Up This Winter at AHR Expo 2016!

AHR Expo 2016 GoodwayThings are heating up in the HVAC industry and we’ve got a front row seat. Kick off the new year with us in the sunny city of Orlando, Florida, at AHR Expo 2016, the world’s largest HVACR marketplace! From January 25-27, 2016, come see the most advanced products and innovative technology of the year, gain insight from over 2,000 exhibitors and seize the moment to network with more than 60,000 HVACR professionals all under one roof.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to get an exclusive look at hundreds of new and innovative products that can help your business operate more quickly and efficiently, like our state-of-the-art TFC-200 that prevents growth of Legionella bacteria and our award-winning RAM-PRO-XL®, which received a coveted Gold Dealer Design Award, as well as earning honorable mention in the tools & instruments category for the 2014 AHR Innovation Awards.

Our award-winning RAM-PRO-XL features:

RAM-PRO-XL Goodway Blog

  • Integrated TubeGuard® technology to help obliterate biofilm and protect tubes from corrosion
  • Complete all-in-one system for cleaning limescale and debris from the tower fill
  • Chain drive system for a smoother, more effective performance in challenging situations

 

Our Legionella-fighting TFC-200 features:

TFC-200 Goodway Blog

  • A compact, all-in one system, that can be used virtually anywhere
  • 36” Stainless Steel extension wands for those hard-to-reach areas
  • 25” chemical resistant hose protecting from harsh, aggressive chemicals

Even better, we’ll be unveiling a very special surprise that will be a complete game-changer for the HVAC industry! We’re especially excited because this forthcoming year will also mark 50 years of Goodway providing innovative HVAC solutions that simplify maintenance tasks for people around the world. Come celebrate this tremendous milestone with us! Several other fun activities like contests, giveaways, product demos and an exclusive Cocktail party will also be occurring as this magical moment in trade show history unfolds.

This time around, all of the excitement will be taking place at booth #3444, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

Legionnaires Law: Cooling Towers Now Subject to Regular Inspection

In 1976, 182 Legionnaires came down with a severe case of pneumonia at a meeting of the American Legion in Philadelphia. Twenty-nine of them died—the cause of death was revealed as a new bacteria soon named Legionella pneumophila. Despite nearly forty years of research and mitigation efforts, however, Legionnaires disease remains a serious problem in highly-populated areas—now, Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio have rolled out a new set of rules designed to quickly identify and hopefully stop the spread of this disease. Here’s what it means for businesses.

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Podcast: Ray Field Discusses How to Prevent or Mitigate Legionella Outbreaks

Goodway_Ray_FieldRecently we discussed the unusual Legionella outbreaks hitting New York City. In this post, we dive deeper into Legionella Outbreaks to discuss preventative maintenance practices and chemical solutions that minimize risk.

Ray Field, the Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, talks about Legionnaires’ disease and legionella bacteria, as it relates to cooling towers. He begins by stating that 40% to 60% of cooling towers, through different studies, have shown that they’re positive for legionella.

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Bad Air in the Big Apple? “Unusual” Legionnaires Outbreak Hits New York City

Legionnaires Disease HVAC Cooling Tower

Odds are New York City has seen better summers. In addition to the sweltering weather, NYC is now dealing with a Legionnaires outbreak in the Bronx that’s infected over fifty people and killed four. Right now the city is searching for answers about origin and impact, while many citizens are left wondering just what kind of risk they face.

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