Chemicals in Water—A Good Thing

After so many advocates by the pro-health movement to reduce the amount of chemicals used to sanitize water supplies, there seems to be a calling from the other side that declares that chemical-free devices don’t always work so well. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has released new research reports indicating that non-chemical devices that are used to control the growth of bacteria such as Legionella may not be sufficient enough to reduce their growth.

Biological agents like Legionella are common in many of the cooling towers HVAC techs are responsible for maintaining. If these new, safer sanitation techniques are failing to adequately get rid of bacteria in systems this could mean big problems for the credibility of HVAC technicians.

This 2-year research project by Dr. Radisav Vidic from the University of Pittsburg tested the efficiency of five different non-chemical products to see if they could adequately control the amount of bacterial growth in cooling tower systems. Unfortunately, none of these devices were good enough to significantly reduce microbial populations. Because of these findings, the ASHRAE is now suggesting that system operators and engineers should conduct water samples more frequently. These findings have not yet been fully approved for release though. Until safer methods are perfected it is likely that chemicals will be recommended for use along with these environmentally friendly devices so that water towers can properly sterilized.