This article, which explores why you should control microbiological growth in your industrial cooling water, is the fifth in an occasional series on water management basics and technologies.
Uncontrolled microbiological growth within a cooling water system can result in the formation of biological fouling layers (biofilm) on all surfaces in contact with the cooling water. The biofilm acts as a thermal insulator to decrease heat transfer efficiency in the production equipment and usually results in a substantial corrosion rate increase due to the formation of anaerobic areas under the fouling layer. The anaerobic areas create galvanic couple corrosion and form metabolic byproducts such as hydrogen sulfide, which attack the base metals. Severe cases of biological fouling have resulted in complete cooling system failures due to the biomass physically plugging cooling water passages in production equipment and cooling towers.