Biofilm Control with Frequency

Bacteria exist in every aspect of our lives. Many bacteria are helpful, while some species of microorganisms can be very harmful to humans and the environment under certain conditions. Buildings provide a hospitable environment for numerous types of bacteria, which can be detected in both air and water, and considerable efforts are taken to ensure that harmful bacteria are prevented from harming building occupants and visitors. 

Most facility engineers and operation managers are focused on controlling waterborne pathogens, (including legionella), that grow in cooling towers, chillers, and water systems. Boilers tend to keep biofilm and bacteria under control due to their high temperatures, but not entirely. The ability of bacteria to grow and thrive is an amazing phenomenon, as we have witnessed applications of biocides that caused 99.99% colony forming unit (cfu) reductions, only to observe their return to prior numbers in 7 days, which indicates the tenacity of microorganisms.

Chemistry has been applied to water systems as common practice, which is generally effective for controlling bacteria, but other chemicals are used to prevent scale and others prevent corrosion. As long as the mixture of chemicals are compatible and monitored carefully, the water quality is reasonably managed. When cycles of concentration (COC) reach elevated levels of conductivity, the controllers automatically purge (“blowdown”) a percentage of water that is replaced with fresh “make-up” water that has less hardness as a means of controlling scale. Unfortunately, a significant amount of chemistry is also purged, requiring replenishment and balancing of chemicals. Traditionally, the process of controlling bacteria and scale continues constantly, with considerable costs relating to water and chemicals.

HydroFLOW electronic water conditioning provides measurable reduction in water, chemistry and energy expenses each day. HydroFLOW creates a 150 kHz frequency that controls bacteria and algae, in addition to biofilm that can withstand high levels of chemistry in many cases.  HydroFLOW also causes dissolved scale to cluster in the water rather than attaching to pipes, and enhances sidestream filtration. HydroFLOW controls, and prevents corrosion within systems. HydroFLOW does not eliminate chemicals, but will reduce their volume up to 70%, along with increased cycles of concentration, resulting in the reduction of water consumption up to 50%. 

Biofilm is a common issue for cooling tower and water system management, as it is difficult to control with chemicals and physical removal. Biofilm is actually a consortium of various microorganisms that stick to each other and often adhere to a surface. The bacteria produce a slime that differs in makeup from any single strain of bacterium, which protects them from predators, temperature changes and often chemical applications. Biofilms may form on smooth or limescale surfaces and can be prevalent in natural, industrial and hospital settings.  When disturbed or attacked, the production of biofilm increases rapidly, and some portions break away and drift in a system to attach in other locations where new colonies will form.

HydroFLOW’s frequency disturbs bacteria and biofilm by injuring cytoplasm and causing individual bacteria to rupture. Biofilm is dislodged and the consortia bacteria are deactivated or injured by the HydroFLOW signal, which operates 24/7 throughout the water system. Remnants of colonies are removed by the sidestream filter, and new bacteria are prevented from being established.

Chemical biocides remain an important component of water system management, and HydroFLOW is able to reduce the volume of chemicals by up to 70%. It is important to maintain biocides in case a bird or animal enters the water and introduces a spike in bacteria. HydroFLOW works well with chemistry and along with an effective sidestream filter, it allows appropriate chemicals to do their job.

Legionella has become a significant concern for management of water systems, especially in urban settings with large numbers of visitors and occupants in buildings. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) released the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 188-2015 - Legionellosis: Risk Management for Building Water Systems that provides comprehensive guidance on legionella control and prevention.

HydroTech Solutions was founded as a sustainable water technology solutions provider, and is pleased that the patented HydroFLOW water conditioning system is able to effectively control bacteria and biofilm in water systems, along with controlling scale and corrosion while improving filtration. HydroFLOW reduces water, chemistry and energy use while saving substantial costs that usually pays for itself within 4-18 months.

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