NYC Antimicrobial Cooling Tower Installed Will Curb Legionnaires’

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Antimicrobial Cooling Tower
Photo Courtesy of Wilk Marketing Communications

Thanks to NYC Health + Hospitals, The LiRo Group, and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the installation of an antimicrobial cooling tower has been installed in New York City for the first time. Along with its antimicrobial design and properties, the new system that sits on the roof of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln in the Bronx works to reduce energy use by 40-percent.

Antimicrobial Cooling Tower Controls Legionnaires’ Outbreaks

The energy efficient tower, manufactured by Delta Cooling Towers Inc., most notably includes a design with antimicrobial properties to control the risk of excessive bacterial growth known to ignite Legionnaires’ disease. In the past 10 years, this disease has been prevalent with new outbreaks in New York City just about every year.

The system that sits on the South Bronx medical center rooftop, located at 234 Eugenio Maria De Hostos Boulevard, is working to reduce the danger of detrimental bacteria. The bacterium, known to grow in older cooling towers, that are of less advanced design, are what have been found to increase the likelihood of Legionnaires’ occurrences.

These new innovative cooling towers have been designed to replace old systems that are no longer doing the job they are meant to do. With an older tower that needed to be replaced, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln saw the opportunity to increase health safety by replacing their outdated system with the new antimicrobial cooling tower.

New York State Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried explains:

“New York City’s public health officials have worked proactively to curb outbreaks of Legionnaires’ disease in the five boroughs but Legionnaires’ is unpredictable and difficult to eradicate. By installing this state-of-the-art technology, Health + Hospitals is continuing to act with vigilance and prudence to protect the people of New York City.”

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Antimicrobial Cooling Tower
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How Antimicrobial Cooling Tower Works

In choosing the antimicrobial tower NYC Health + Hospitals, The LiRo Group, and NYPA considered added safety to the community as well. The specific model was chosen for its attributes to avert and hamper the ability for harmful bacteria, including Legionella, to grow. Legionella is the known bacteria that causes the form of pneumonia now recognized as Legionnaires’ disease.

An antimicrobial resin infuses the shells inside the towers that hold water. The resin is built with wide-spectrum additives that work on a cellular level to continuously interrupt and stop the growth of microorganisms and biofilm.

Additionally, the new high-density polyethylene tower design resists the corrosion from salt and industrial gasses that the older designed metal cooling towers are susceptible to. The new design also safeguards against the stringent chemicals used to clean towers and treat recirculating water.

The rounded shape of the new design of the shells replaced the old boxy shape that had corners in which the growth of bacteria can be encouraged as water flows through it less. With no corners in the round design, water does not find the opportunity to become stagnant and cause harmful bacteria to grow.

Energy Efficiency Meets Better Health

Antimicrobial Cooling Tower
Photo Courtesy of Wilk Marketing Communications

Along with the new cooling tower was the installation of a new energy-efficient roof. Both the tower and roof were original and had lived a long life since installed in 1972 when the building was built. Adding to energy efficiency and saving on costs is an up-to-date very reliable new infrastructure that will require much less maintenance.

NYC Health + Hospitals worked with NYPA to design cooling towers that are as energy-efficient as conceivable. A team led by Louis Iglhaut, associate executive director at NYC Health + Hospitals, was formed to oversee the selection and installation of the new cooling towers.

Iglhaut explains that the new system is composed of modular units fitted with 5-horsepower, 18-inch fans, as opposed to the old towers that used immense 48-horsepower fans on each unit. Add in the addition of variable-frequency drives and the new cooling tower makes for far less energy consumption.

NYC Health + Hospitals and the NYPA worked together to choose a tower that would meet the NYC directive to save energy. NYPA is a state power organization committed to creating innovative and energy-efficient infrastructure. It was NYPA who brought in the U.S. engineering, technology, and construction management NY based firm The LiRo Group to work as the Owner’s Representative to manage the project.