Cooling Water Systems – 4 Good Reasons Why A Cold Eyes Review Could Be Essential

Cooling Water Systems – 4 Good Reasons Why A Cold Eyes Review Could Be Essential


An independent (3rd party) assessment of your Cooling Water System by a Becht SME is highly recommended. There are several key Business Objectives that are addressed by this type of review.

1.  Is There a Plan In Place To Insure Equipment Is Not On The Verge Of Catastrophic Failure? 

cooling tower partial collapseThere are many documented instances of Cooling Towers collapsing from biological (fungal) attack on wood members or excessive weight due to ice, scale, or mud. Fiberglas towers have failed due to improper erection techniques. Frequent inspections are necessary to detect and avoid these conditions. Underground piping may corrode and cathodic protection systems may no longer provide adequate protection. Two common modes of failure on heat exchangers are pitting or stress corrosion cracking (SCC). In this last case, (failure by SCC), Becht worked with a client to retrofit the heat exchanger in place to insure that SCC would not re-occur.  

2.  Have Business Practices Been Established To Define And Measure KPI’s?

Key performance indicators (KPI’s) should be established for each of the areas you are seeking to control with cooling water chemical treatment.  Among these are: corrosion rates, acceptable temperatures in heat exchangers, control of suspended solids and fouling, and biological control of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria, algae, and fungi. In addition, expectations need to be defined for activities performed during a scheduled service visit by the water treatment chemical provider, reporting requirements, and management reviews. Becht has assisted companies by specifying KPI’s and rolling out best practices. 

3.  Does Your Cooling Water System Conform to Recommended Practice From An Industrial Hygiene Standpoint? 

Legionella outbreaks have occurred in poorly maintained cooling systems. Are your workers taking the proper precautions when performing tasks in the vicinity of the Cooling Tower? The metrics for good control of biological growth should be clearly defined and easy to measure. In one case at a refinery, high legionella counts had to be reported to the authorities. Becht worked with the plant to decrease the legionella counts, thereby allowing them to stay below the reporting threshold. 

4.  Are You Compliant With Discharge Limitations and Environmental Regulations? 

Non-compliance with discharge permits can result in fines or even plant shutdowns. The ability to measure and monitor important parameters in effluent streams will avoid this situation. In one example, bleach was used as the primary biocide, but the plant was exceeding its limit on free  chlorine in the discharge. A system was developed to “neutralize” the chlorine in the blow down so that it could be discharged within limits.


Becht Engineering has the knowledge and experience to address these stated objectives and solve cooling system and equipment problems in refineries, chemical processing plants, power generating plants, and more.

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About The Author

Allen Feltzin has over 30 years of experience in process engineering, maintenance, operations, and construction in large scale industrial plants based on his long career with BOC Gases, Murray Hill, New Jersey. He developed world class, state of the art cooling systems which were installed at over 80 sites in North America. He was responsible for every aspect associated with cooling towers: design, specification, erection, inspection, testing, retrofits, upgrades, and demolition. Al developed and presented training courses on cooling water treatment and cooling system equipment, both in North America and globally. He conducted a comprehensive audit achieving cost reductions and optimizations on a 360,000 gpm seawater cooled system at a 360 MW combined cycle power plant. As an Advisor with Becht, Al has worked with a European refinery to control calcium phosphate deposition and Legionella. He provided consultation to a US Gulf Coast Refinery on cooling tower life cycle optimization: repair vs. replace, review of inspection reports, thermal performance assessment, oversight of contractors, and asbestos abatement. He has built strong professional organizational affiliations, authored numerous technical papers and made presentations to various industry groups including the Cooling Technology Institute, American Chemical Society, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Compressed Gas Association, and American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Mr. Feltzin has the following professional affiliations: Cooling Technology Institute, American Chemical Society, National Association of Corrosion Engineers, Compressed Gas Associations, and American Institute of Chemical Engineers. Mr. Feltzin holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Delaware.

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