More than 12 years ago, the team at System UVEX started to take care of the cooling system at a major retail facility in west London. This involves performing weekly checks on four linked cooling towers that provide cooling for the site’s large refrigerated food storage areas. 

Of course, where food products are concerned, safety and hygiene are of supreme importance in every aspect of the site’s operation. This includes its refrigeration system.

Our role was to ensure the systems in place to maintain the quality and safety of water used in those systems were effective. Any failure here could result in the presence of bacteria such as legionella. At a facility like this, the consequences hardly bear thinking about. 

Keeping water safe

Bacteria like these are all around us in tiny concentrations every day. They only become a health hazard when they are given the opportunity to multiply. Cooling towers that circulate and evaporate water, often at the ideal temperature, have the potential to be a perfect breeding ground. 

Historically, the water has been managed by adding chemicals. One possible problem with this approach is that chemical treatment has to be quite aggressive. It adds another potentially harmful element to the system, which has to be closely managed and monitored. This in turn means considerable work and expense on appropriate training and manual handling.

Adopting a non-chemical approach

At the London facility, a different approach of non-chemical cooling tower water treatment was adopted from the outset. By utilising a UVEX system to keep the sump water safe, use of chemicals is kept to an absolute minimum, as UV is used to treat the water instead. As well as being more environmentally friendly, it also demands far less management and monitoring. This means fewer opportunities for things to go wrong and lower maintenance costs. 

The very latest technology

12 years is a long time and UVEX technology has advanced considerably since 2008. In the latter part of last year, our team embarked on an upgrade project at the site. The UVEX was substantially updated in several areas. Most important was the retro-fitting of the latest high performance UV system which is now a standard part of all new UVEX UV based cooling tower water treatment installations.

Throughout the 12 years of operation, the UVEX has been effective in controlling the water quality and keeping all parameters well within the required specifications. However, we are pleased to be able to report that since the upgrade was completed last October, tests have shown that the TVCs (total viable counts of bacterial in the water) have consistently improved further.