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Cooling Towers Continue To Take Blame

Cooling Towers Continue To Take Unfounded Blame For Legionella Outbreaks

On September 21st, 2017, online News outlet QNS, in a story on a recent outbreak, couldn’t resist adding, in an offhand way, in a report on a Legionnaires Disease infection:

“Parker Towers does not have a cooling tower, which is usually where Legionalla (sic) thrives.”
Even though the CDC says cooling towers are not the major source for outbreaks.

According to :

It’s important to keep in mind that out of all cases of LD, 4 percent are outbreaks and 96 percent are individual, sporadic cases. Of the outbreaks, the CDC says about 20 percent are associated with cooling towers and 56 percent are associated with the drinking water supply,” said Considine. “Out of all the cases of LD, that means cooling towers comprise maybe 1-2 percent of all incidents

One reason for many of the outbreaks may be related to our current infrastructure. While a cooling tower may be where the bacteria can grow, it is the water source that may be contaminated that introduces the bacteria. Failing water systems have added a new component to the war against Legionnaires Disease. in Minnesota recently reported:

State, county and city public health officials are trying to isolate the source of the bacteria in the plumbing system of SilverCreek on Main, which provides memory care, assisted living and independent living services.

While cooling towers continue to take a bad rap for disease outbreaks, the simple fact that the incoming water now has a better chance of being contaminated only means HVAC system operators and building managers must be even more vigilant., in Michigan’s Tri-County area reported:

The city of Fenton has been informed by the Genesee County Health Department that a care facility located in the city has tested presumptive positive for the Legionella bacteria in a resident room and an adjacent area, Markland said.

We have been told by the Health Department that this is an isolated incident, in only a part of a facility and is not related to the city’s water system,” Markland (Fenton City Manager) said. “Our records show that the chlorination introduced at the city’s water plant and in the distribution system is high enough to prevent any contamination of the city’s water system.

According to the Alliance to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease, reducing Legionella in the public water supply would go a long way toward addressing the risk. Another major problem with Legionella is that it’s resistant to chlorine. A combination of chemicals and cleaning is usually employed to eliminate the bacteria. A free toolkit is available from the CDC: Developing a Water Management Program to Reduce Legionella Growth and Spread in Buildings to help understand the complexities involved.

Written by webtechs

Water Conservation and Cooling Tower News

Water Conservation and Cooling Tower News


The Alliance for Water Efficiency recently reported that 30 years of water conservation has reduced the amount of water usage by almost 60 gallons per resident in Tucson, Arizona. The water efficiency project followed conservation savings in 2 Arizona cities, Tucson and Gilbert. In the last 20 years, Gilbert was reported to have reduced water usage by 30% from conservation alone. The cost for Gilbert’s water and wastewater system hookup is 45 percent lower today, due to conservation savings and reduced need for infrastructure improvements over the period. Cities across the nation and California in particular, which has had great success and a 25% reduction in use recently, are looking to find similar ways to reduce use and costs.

Water quality is becoming an issue in many rural areas in California and Tucson also. Cleanup of contamination of water in the area around Tucson Airport is currently ongoing. A recent report has revealed that the arsenic levels in the drinking water at some schools in the San Joaquin Valley in Califrnia are in question. The Rural Community Assistance Corporation reported that some public water systems in the San Joaquin Valley area have levels that exceed maximum federal safety levels by as much as 300%. An open house session was held in July with Tucson Water officials and the Environmental Protection Agency to discuss water quality issues.

Legionnaires‘ Disease

73 cases, constituting a 143% increase over the last 2 years, of Legionnaires’ disease has been reportedly found in Metro Detroit during June and July of this year. Michigan health officials have not yet identified a common source of the infection. The CDC has reported that a genetic has found link between the nearby Flint Michigan water system and the infections of Flynt residents Back in 2014-2015, which killed 12 people.

Eight cases of infections from the legionellosis bacteria were detected in the Three Rivers region of Quebec last month. The source of the bacteria has still not been located. Public water fountains have been temporarily closed while the source is looked for. All main city water systems have been checked and found to be free of contamination. Local fears are high as many remember 14 deaths and more than 180 infections during a massive outbreak in Quebec City five years ago.

2 Cases Of Legionnaires’ Disease were reported at a Building in Queens, NY in the last few days. The city instituted mandatory cooling tower inspections 2 years ago but other sources are suspected, as the building does not have a cooling tower. One tenant remains hospitalized but is listed as recovering, while the other was discharged.

A spa at a Gold’s Gym in Kennewick, Wa., was the suspected source of two recent infections and currently the spa is closed for inspection.

Nine cases have been confirmed in the last outbreak between May 15 and June 26 at The Guesthouse Hotel at Graceland and there has now been a lawsuit filed against Elvis Presley Enterprises alleging “through the normal use of The Guest House at Graceland’s water system” that they were exposed to the legionellosis bacteria. The plaintiff spent over a week in intensive care. “Moving forward, the establishment will implement their preventive water maintenance plan monthly instead of quarterly for the next six months as well as continue routine sampling on the aquatics facilities”, according to Shelby County Health Department public information officer Elizabeth Hart. As of July 19, the Shelby County Health Department authorized The Guest House at Graceland to reopen the aquatics facilities.

CDC Corrects Paper on Legionnaire’s Disease – After a critical examination of a report by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the CDC has revised its report about the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System outbreaks that sickened 22 veterans, killing six, in 2012 and 2013. The conclusions of a 2013 report from the VA’s Inspector General found that “the outbreak was due to poor management generally and poor maintenance of the copper-silver system specifically, not that the copper-silver system itself had failed.”

Cooling TowersGuardian Water Treatment of the UK has recently announced a Legionella Awareness Course ( for cooling tower operators in the UK. Course are listed as: Week 1: Overview of ACoP L8, including HSG274 Part 1 and site specific training on testing and inspection. Week 2: Operation theory, site specific testing and inspection. Week 3: Brief recap of test procedure and final competence sign off.

Written by webtechs

Legionnaires' Disease Rates Rise as Outbreak Reports Continue

Legionnaires’ Disease Rates Rise from
Cooling Tower Contaminations

Outbreak Reports Continue

Legionnaires Disease

According to the CDC and in spite of years of research, the scientific community remains in the dark as to the cause (but not necessarily the source) of the rising rate of infections from the Legionella bacteria in the Unites States today. Between the years of 2000 and 2015 the estimated number of cases has increased almost 450% reaching the level of approximately 6,000 cases reported by 2015.

Lenox Hill, NY – In a two week period back in June, there were several cases of Legionnaire’s Disease in and around Manhattan NY’s Lenox Hill neighborhood. One elderly person with “significant underlying health conditions” died and 8 people were hospitalized temporarily.

With the usual suspect of a cooling tower, investigations soon identified 116 systems within half a kilometer and testing began.
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene quickly found 42 had traces of Legionella DNA, 24 of which had quite low levels. Ongoing testing is being conducted to match the DNA with the individual infections to determine which of the identified cooling tower system or systems were responsible for the outbreak.


Legionnaires’ Disease on the Rise

Memphis, TN – Elvis Presley’s Famous Graceland VACation destination was rocked with an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease the first week of July this year. By the end of the week 6 cases were confirmed. It has been estimated that those cases were initially contacted between May 15 and June 26. The Shelby County Health Department has recommended anyone with symptoms who visited the park during those dates should contact them immediately. The aquatic facilities at the hotel were closed for examination. So far, those who have been infected all stayed at the Guest House at Graceland between those dates.

W.Va. – Recently the Department of Health & Human Resources has reported an increase in the number of cases suspected of being Legionnaires’ Disease during the months of May and June this year.

Looking for Solutions

One major problem with Legionella is that it’s resistant to chlorine. Cleaning and maintaining a safe cooling tower is not as easy as it might seem. A DNA test to confirm the source takes time. One benefit there is that all cooling towers in a given area are investigated which frequently finds more contaminations than infections and helps reinforce the reality that there is more lurking there than we know. Diligence seems to be a major factor in limiting the outbreaks and local jurisdictions are starting to look into regular cooling tower inspections and mandated cleaning procedures as a layer of bureaucracy they feel is needed to help combat infections.

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Lack Of Sprinkler System Increases Injury And Death

Lack Of Sprinkler System Increases Injury And Death

On Friday, July 14, 2017, a high-rise building fire in Honolulu, Hawaii, spread from one unit to additional units and threated engulfing the entire building after a fire broke out in one unit on the 26th floor of an apartment building. At least 3 casualties and over a dozen injuries have been reported so far. The expansion of the fire beyond the source was believed to have been the result of a building that was built in 1971, before sprinklers were required in such type of buildings, that has never been upgraded.


Many residents reported no warnings or alarms either and most said the smoke was what alerted them to the conflagration. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell stated “residents have to pay” if they want sprinkler safety protection, “It’s pretty expensive. But if it saves a life and it’s your life, it’s worth the cost.” Many local ‘rumblings’ indicated there are others that disagree and it seems possible the rules will soon be looked at to see if is possible to require such upgrades.

Most residents also indicated there were no fire safety meetings or drills they could remember…since a few after the last fire in 2003. Many residents, as reported by several local TV stations, were unaware the building had no fire sprinkler system and had never heard of any meetings or drills relating to emergency situations.

The fire burned for around 4 hours and was mostly confined to 2 floors, due to the quick reactions from the approximately 100 fire fighters that responded to the blaze.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there was an 80% lower risk of death and a reduction of 71% in property damage costs in buildings equipped with fire sprinklers vs. those without, between 1996 and 2001.

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HVAC Installation Accidents

HVAC Installation Accidents

Injury From Electrical Shock During HVAC Service

A man fell while working on an HVAC unit in Wilmington, Delaware inside a building on 1201 North Orange Street shortly after 3 p.m., after what appeared to be an electrical shock, according to reporting by David Chang at local NBC10 News. The worker was found hanging from a ladder, apparently convulsing. While attempting to rescue him, the ladder was knocked over and he fell to the floor.

Apartment Under Construction Burns Due To Faulty HVAC

New Albany, Kentucky’s $26.5 million Breakwater luxury apartment complex received major damage from a fire on Friday, Feb. 24. According to the New Albany Fire Department, as reported at on March 2nd, they have now determined that the fire was caused by a layer of insulation around a copper line catching fire by an errant torch being operated by an hVAC installer. He initially attempted to put the fire out himself and thought he had succeeded. The fire continued to smolder and was noticed the next morning, nearly 15 hours later, by a neighbor. Most of the building will probably have to be destroyed before construction can begin again. Sadly, the building was still in the early stages of construction and a fire sprinkler system was not yet installed.

Cooling Tower
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HVAC and Cooling Tower News Updates

HVAC and Cooling Tower
News Updates

Latest Industry News

Advancements in Cooling Tower Construction Improves Pre-Assembled Types in Design, Materials and Efficiency

Prefabricated cooling towers have not generally been the design of choice in the past. Today, replacing an old cooling tower can offer options that might have been dismissed previously. The labor savings over a field erected unit are not new. However, the latest advancements in technology have helped level the ‘field’. Less lead time and build time are some obvious advantages. The latest crossflow designs and advanced drift eliminators which improve efficiency are some of the new technologies in play. Materials such as composites reinforced with fiberglass (FRP) and other new composites are also being used, allowing compact designs and weight savings over old units.

Integral basins can also play a big part in a decision on construction type. On-site construction usually requires a concrete basin as a foundation, while most factory assembled units have a self-contained basin. Some newer designs, however, can be found with no basin, allowing existing basins for field erected units to be used when updating to a newer factory assembled cooling tower systems, thus adding additional savings. Multiple cells can be mounted even be mounted on an existing basin.

More Local Regulations Considered due to Recent Legionnaires’ Outbreaks

Minnesota State Rep. Cheryl Youakim has offered up legislation earlier this month creating the formation of a “state registry of cooling towers”, which would “…would prevent more people from getting sick in an outbreak…” according to the Representative. Details are to include required registration with the state health commissioner and fines for non-compliance. Required “inspection and cleaning guidelines” will be provided along with additional monitoring requirements. Cooling towers are not currently regulated in Minnesota.

Current guidelines by The Minnesota Department of Health recommends companies develop water management programs and adhere to existing industry standards.

Back in October of 2016 after a deadly outbreak in Hopkins, Youakim had said “Everybody’s digging into this to make sure that we can not only mitigate the spread of this disease when it happens, but really look at something that can prevent it from happening,” according to Nate Leding of local ABC affiliate Channel 5.

Nominations for the 2017 Commercial HVAC Contractor of the Year Award

Nominations are now being accepted by “Candidates should be companies that can shed positive light on the HVAC industry and on the contracting profession.” Deadline for nominations is April 15, 2017. Now is the time to honor those who offer up the best and brightest future for the HVAC industry.

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Cooling Tower Utility Rebate Program.

Cooling Tower Utility Rebate Program.

Waterline Controls® is actively working to help set up rebate / incentive programs to help save water, and therefore money and natural resources. By helping local businesses set up accurate water level control systems less water is wasted and utility cost go down. By partnering with local utility services everyone benefits. Along with equipment rebates on needed test and control systems, included education and support allow this to work well with little complications or fuss.

Rebates for Waterline Controllers are now available from a new water conservation assistance program offered by the Seattle Public Utilities. We are proud to announce our partnership with this new incentive program in Seattle Washington, through Seattle Public Utilities, supported by local area WaterLine Controls® distributor FluidTEK.

This program is intended to help local Seattle businesses reduce water usage with help, education, support and rebates. Improving the monitoring and therefore reducing current water usage is a proven benefit of our Waterline systems, both economically and environmentally. A Cooling Tower Efficiency Manual has been produced by the utility that outlines the best ways for local businesses to use and save water. All participating businesses are asked to commit to the efficiency practices discussed.Seattle Public Utilities

Up to $7500 in total rebates are available per business.

These rebates are for the monitoring and control systems required to record and control water usage. Even without the rebates, the idea is sound and proven; waste less and save.

With our Electronic Sensors and Software driven Modular Solid State (of the art) Controllers, we are the perfect option to participate in this program. Our advanced and fully automated control system was used as the basis for the program’s evaluation process. With local Seattle HVAC parts and service supplier FluidTEK offering local support, you can’t lose. Support is also directly offed through the knowledgeable staff at SPU.

To sign up for this program, contact one of the water specialists at the SPU by calling (206) 343-8505.

SPU Flyer

Utility Rebate Program
If you are located in another part of country and want more information about Waterline Controls features, functions or its reliability, or would like to help make a program like this possible in your area, please contact Waterline Controls for assistance.
Written by webtechs

Fountain Water Level Control and Sensors That Last

Fountain Water Level Control and Sensors That Last

Water FountainWater Fountains need to be accurately controlled to assure proper and continued function. The level of water required to keep the fountain from either running dry or overflowing is very important to monitor and maintain. Low water can cause pump damage or fountain failures, while floods from overflowing can be even more disastrous. We could help cover all that…and much more.

Fountains are usually in a public place, where you want the equipment out of sight…and touch, not in the view of onlookers, taking away from the experience. Our sensors can be located in an external static well to remove the sensing probe from sight.

You also need a safe system. Our sensors run on low voltage and low current. In fact, all of our products are ETL Listed to the industrial Controls UL Standard 508. You can check out our Fountain Systems here.

SensorsElectronic Liquid Level Control

What Kind of Sensor is the Best? Ask our customers!
We recently spoke with a fountain Contractor/Supplier in Los Angeles and got a great testimonial we thought we’d share.

He was telling us about a job he had been on recently…

Client Testimonial-

While attending to a fountain he had the chance to observe a Waterline electronic sensor. He was surprised by its appearance, thinking it look new, when he knew it was not. He said it had had our controller and sensor for 20 years and “it looks like it has never been in the water, it was so clean.” Ever seen the corrosion on conductivity probes or the pitting that occurs? Our sensors don’t suffer from that. We use a sensor that contains multiple stainless steel probes that are inserted into the liquid being measured.

We proudly told the contactor that here was the difference between our product and conductivity type probes. We told him that a 10 year old probe like the one he encountered can look almost brand new still. He went silent of a minute, and then exclaimed happily, “Wow, I never realized that until just now!”

Conductive Sensor

Corrosion on conductive sensor

Corrosion on a conductive sensor, typical after 1 year

Waterline Sensor

Waterline Controls Sensor

Even with bad water quality
tips of the probe look new!


You also need to control your water supply. Waterline controllers are designed to operate 110VAC solenoid valves and connect into a larger control panel to let the pool or fountain operator know what the water level controls are doing. Building Automation System– With BAS connection capability our revolutionary software driven solid state electronic controllers are the cutting edge for water level control. We have systems with High & Low Alarms and Low-Low Basin Heater Cut-off, for fool-proof operation. Testing is simple and intuitive, with just a push of a button.control (Duplicate)

The Sum is Greater Than the Parts

And some great parts they are. With little maintenance, low cost, long life and integrated firmware for hassle free operation, we think we have the only system you’ll ever need for keeping a beautiful and expensive water fountain running economically, safely and automatically for many, many years to come. Back that up with our industry leading 100% satisfaction guarantee and you simply can’t lose!

External Static Pipe
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Choosing the Right Water Level Sensor

Choosing the Right Water Level Sensor

Very basically, a water level sensor detects the level of water in a container. Our water level systems use Electronic Sensors for determining the volume of water in a tank. They can replace old systems with mechanical float switches and Capacitive, Conductive or Ultrasonic sensors.

There are lots of water level sensor systems available today. The challenge is in choosing the right system. You need ease of use. You’ll need to easily integrate with your existing systems. You need to monitor and, finally, control it.

It is important to select a water control sensor that has an intuitive monitoring system. Ours feature LED indicators and easy to use push button systems. If the sensor can work on autopilot, then you reduce the need for continuous manual monitoring. We say ours system is “so complete you don’t need to be there.” With our controllers and sensors you have a complete level detection and filling system which is fully automatic.

Durability is another important factor to consider in a water level sensor. We build systems so they can last for many decades. A modular design will also let you fix individual parts when needed, eliminating the need for a complete replacement. You will never have to replace the entire unit again, simply replace the appropriate part. This kind of design can substantially reduce the cost of maintenance and operation. We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If it doesn’t work we will take it back – period. This kind of guarantee shows we are very confident about the effectiveness of our system.

Made in the USASafety

Waterline systems utilize a low voltage, which avoids injuries and serious accidents. A low-voltage / low-amp system totally eliminates the possibility of electric shock. During installation and maintenance, you are safe from accidents due to high sensor voltages. Our sensors are listed to UL508 Standard by ETL.

Sensor Types

The types of sensor you see in today’s market are generally Mechanical, Capacitive, Conductive and Ultrasonic. All of these have many drawbacks, reliability issues, corrosive issues, voltage issues or cost and calibration issues. In an application that contains diesel or certain coolants we do recommend using mechanical float switches. We have developed our own magnetic reed switch that connects directly with our WLC Series controller when needed.

New Technology

Waterline Controls designed and created completely new electronic switch sensor that runs on software. In conjunction with our automatic controllers, with models designed for many markets and application, we offer a complete, simple, and reliable solid state electronic level control system that is also very cost effective.

Our water level sensors are built to last, withstanding harsh conditions, compensating for waves, and maintaining an accuracy within 1/8″ of operating range.
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