Waterline – Spring 2018 – Evaporative Cooling Towers & Condensers and Working at Height

Published on 05/23/2018 | by Waterline Admin
As featured in waterline Spring 2018

Evaporative Cooling Towers & Condensers and Working at Height

Colin Brown,
Carter Environmental Engineers

Many years ago little thought was given to the implications of working at height whilst carrying out inspections and maintenance procedures on evaporative cooling equipment. There are many accounts which may cause shudders of disbelief with what was expected by unit owners when inviting prospective suppliers and service providers to inspect their cooling equipment on site.

I can recall one such visit where my host asked if he and I could carry two ladders, the first of which gained us access to a first level roof which was then lifted up to avoid it being stolen where the second ladder was to gain access to the top of the tower. Neither ladder was quite long enough so improvised leaping was called for!

working at height image example

Thankfully memories like this are now just memories as very few sites and duty holders behave so irresponsibly when it comes to providing suitable duty of care to employees and visitors to their site when tasked with carrying out inspections and work on their evaporative cooling equipment.

In a recent round of intervention visits carried out by the HSE many of the improvement notices served were for lack of adequate safe access facilities for the inspection of evaporative equipment components such as drift eliminators which incidentally are recommended to be checked weekly or as often as deemed necessary to comply with the overall system risk assessment.

Most new installations do have provision for fixed and safe access with hooped access ladders, hand railing and platforms forming part of a standard supply provision. On a slightly different approach, the industry does seem to be moving away in some cases from vertical access ladders to staircases which can add considerable cost and space taken up to accommodate, but is deemed to be a safer approach to providing safer adequate access.

The City of London Environmental Health Office have recently issued a considered strategy document where it cites “during the legionella intervention programme (April 2013 to August 2014) nearly 80% of improvement notices were with regard to working at height matters”. This is a stance supported by other London authorities which should be enhanced by way of recommendations from manufacturers, suppliers, M&E contractors as well as consulting engineers”. Clearly they have experiences from their inspections where many sites have been found wanting on this issue.

working at height image example

Overall the duty holders, consulting engineers, M&E contractors, manufacturers and suppliers and indeed the wider public will benefit from such “designed in” access considerations made at the outset and will come to recognise their importance throughout the working life of the equipment they serve.

Diary Dates & Events

Grime Scene


Following on from the successful Grime Scene competition, we have decided to continue the theme for another year, but with a twist. This year, we are asking for photographs of the grimiest pictures you can find accompanied with another photograph of how the ‘scene’ has been improved by your maintenance or cleaning.

We will display the photographs in each of the Waterline editions throughout 2024. The ‘most improved’ picture will be chosen by WMSoc members via an online vote. The winner will receive a £25 Amazon Gift Voucher after the Winter 2024/25 edition has been published.

Please send your photographs to:

Product & Service Spotlight

Introducing B & V Chemicals' new film forming amines for closed circuits and steam boilers.

Product Launch: Film forming amines.

This all-in-one solution offers low-dose, cost-effective treatment. Improves heat transfer efficiency by removing corrosion deposits, leading to cleaner surfaces. Enhances energy and resource efficiency by reducing Total Dissolved Solids (TDS). The stable film provided by polyamines ensures superior corrosion control, promoting longer equipment lifespan.

Plus - environmentally friendly, offering a greener alternative to traditional treatments.

Contact us on ownlabel@bvwater.co.uk for further information.

How the NEW SolidTek® Biocide Feeder Package will BENEFIT YOU

SolidTek® has launched its NEW Biocide Feeder which is functional, compact, and environmentally-friendly.

Designed for use with SolidTek’s® enhanced bromine biocide, BromTek, it offers multiple benefits:

Reduced exposure to fumes and bromine dust (non-pressurised system).

Use with field proven mixed hydantoin biocide - better performance than standard bromine tablets.

Wall mounted reducing footprint of installation.

Charge with product in under 5 minutes without isolation from the system.

Product calculators and tech support available.

Lovibond MD640 Photometer (PTSA & Fluorescein capable)

Product Spotlight Drop Test Kits

How many times have you heard … ‘we’re not sure what the system volume is’. A common problem which can be expensive - wasting chemical over dosing, or underdosing so the treatment is ineffective (i.e. shock dosing a biocide). The MD640 photometer has PTSA & Fluorescein capability built in. Simply use our System Checkers to add to an unknown system and read a PTSA or Fluorescein levels to accurately identify the system volume.

The Hydrosense PRO range


The Hydrosense PRO range pioneers Legionella pneumophila detection, the cause of over 97% of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks, by identifying all the serogroups 1-15 of this dangerous Legionella species. This easy-to-use, highly sensitive test uses unique filtration, offering a three-line test result that distinguishes between serogroup 1 and serogroups 2-15 within 25 minutes. The water test has a level of detection of 100 CFU/L and swab tests detect 200 CFU per swabbed area, providing crucial, rapid insights for water safety management.