News & Insights


Greencap Talks Cooling Towers on 3M Science of Safety Podcast

11 August 2020

Tejaswi Shetty, Microbiologist and Senior Property Risk Consultant at Greencap recently joined 3M's Mark Reggers to discuss cooling towers and the hazards they can present in for the Science of Safety Podcast.

A cooling tower is a heat rejection device used to lower the temperature of the water contained within it through evaporative cooling. It expels waste heat to the environment outside the building allowing the cold air to move into the internal parts of the building and cool the structure. Sometimes the dispelled air may be contaminated with Legionella bacteria, that if inhaled by susceptible people, may develop into legionnaires’ disease.


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In this episode, Mark & Tejaswi discuss the following::

  • What are cooling towers, and where would you find them?
  • Why are cooling towers so integral to a buildings HVAC system?
  • How does a cooling tower work?
  • What is Legionnaires disease, and why is it associated with cooling towers?
  • Are there groups of the population that are more susceptible than others to legionnaires disease?
  • Is it just cooling towers or are there other water systems where legionnaires risk may also be present?
  • Are there legislative requirements when it comes to managing cooling towers?
  • Is it the same legislative/compliance requirements for each state and territory in Australia?
  • Who has a responsibility when it comes to managing the risks associated with cooling towers?
  • For a building owner, facility manager or responsible party, broadly, what should they be doing or consider to put into place?
  • What takeaway points would you want to leave with our listeners?
  • Where can the listeners go and get further information about managing cooling towers and water systems?
  • How can our listeners get in contact with yourself and Greencap?

Cooling towers are found in oil refineries, petrochemical industries, thermal powered stations, nuclear-powered stations and most importantly in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning units of many structures. If you’re a building owner, facility manager, or relevant party involved in the care and maintenance of cooling tower systems, you need to understand the risk of legionnaire’s disease that can manifest through them. This hazard should underpin all aspects of the management of cooling water systems to ensure they do not have an impact on the public and building occupants where these systems are present. Tune in as we take a look at cooling towers and their connection with Legionnaire’s disease, an ailment that attacks respiratory systems when legionella infected water droplets, fine drops or aerosols are inhaled.