She has put on a nice face for more than 100 years, welcoming seafarers to these shores with dignity and grace. But deep down, the Statue of Liberty was hurting. Standing in the wet, salty environment of New York Harbor left her interior workings vulnerable to massive corrosion and malfunction.
Fortunately, the American icon did not have to suffer in silence for long. Earlier this year John Culkin, president of C&S Building Services in Farmingdale, NY, led a team of HVAC technicians to Liberty Island to install two new cooling towers. The steel-clad towers that had served the great lady for more than a decade were in a state of rust and ruin.
"We needed a corrosion-proof cooling tower. Even the stainless steel towers they had out there couldn't survive the elements. All the fittings and nuts and bolts had rotted out. We wanted a maintenance-free solution for a wet, salty environment," Culkin says.
Culkin and C&S have worked with National Park Service, which maintains the statue and museum, for more than eight years, so he was familiar with the logistical challenges of the site. These included how to ferry hefty equipment from the mainland to Liberty Island, about a half-mile south of Ellis Island. If the replacement towers were too heavy, a more powerful crane would be necessary for rigging and at the work site.
Because C&S manages maintenance and repair activities for number of firms, Culkin was familiar with plastic cooling towers from Delta Cooling Towers Inc., Rockaway, N.J. Often used in challenging industrial process applications for the very characteristics that attracted Culkin, the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cooling equipment is factory assembled and noncorrosive.
"The motivating factor [for selecting the plastic cooling towers] was the corrosion-proof aspect. If you look at the kind of maintenance you have to perform on most cooling towers, corrosion isn't going to be your primary issue. Your concerns are mostly bearings and shafts. But in this case, in New York Harbor, corrosion maintenance would have been an enormous liability. The fact that you're not going to get any corrosion is an enormous savings. By choosing Delta we greatly reduced those costs." As an added benefit, tthe lightweight plastic towers also solved Culkin's transportation dilemma.
Culkin's five-member team installed a 250-ton Delta Premier tower to cool the museum at Liberty Island. A 70-ton Delta Paragon tower was chosen to cool the interior space of the Statue of Liberty. The service technicians also performed a controls upgrade of the HVAC system and replaced pumps, disconnect switches and all the steel piping outside the statue. The work was completed in six weeks and in time for 2008 Independence Day activities.