Industrial cooling towers play a very important roll in the industrial process, cooling the fluids involved so that they may be reused. Cooling towers come in a variety of different sizes, from small rooftop towers for cooling air conditioning systems, to large hyperboloid towers often found at nuclear power plants.
There are also different types of cooling towers: wet and dry cooling towers. The wet or open circuit cooling tower, cascades the water to be cooled over a sort of labyrinthine fill, creating more surface area, allowing the water to cool faster. Dry or closed circuit cooling towers keep the cooling water separate from the water to be cooled. The cooling water is cascaded over metal pipes containing the water to be cooled, cooling the pipes and thereby cooling the water.
This process results in evaporative water leaving the tower in a pure vapor state. Since this is pure water, it poses no danger to the environment. However, industrial cooling towers also produce drift, which is small unevaporated droplets that become incorporated with the evaporated water. Drift can be harmful, because these droplets contain minerals, debris, microorganisms, and water treatment chemicals from the circulating water.
Industrial cooling towers do everything in their power to prevent as much drift as possible from escaping the tower. Each tower is equipped with a drift eliminator, which helps trap the droplets in the tower and allow the evaporated water to escape.
Every effort is made to control cooling tower drift, because it can be damaging to the surrounding environment. Drift cause damage to the area around it a tower, including cars and buildings, because of the water treatment chemicals in contains. Aside from using a drift eliminator, careful efforts are made to maintain the chemical components of the towers.
One of the reasons its so important to control drift is because it can contain the germs for diseases like Legionnaire’s disease. Most water towers at some point develop the Legionnaire’s bacteria, but the problem is that the disease is contracted through inhaling a mist containing the bacteria, which is exactly what drift is.
Industrial cooling towers make every effort of maintaining a safe environment, both for themselves, and the community and environment around them.