At times, it seems as though innovative technologies outpace our ability to conceive their transformative effect. Take, for instance, the iPod and the iPhone. The iPod, while remarkable in its ability to store, catalog and organize music and other audio files, was in many ways simply an iterative improvement on portable cassette players and mix tapes. By contrast, the iPhone, when launched in 2007, was hailed as a revolutionary turning point in personal technology. In a single device, it combined functions that had only been found on mobile devices marketed to businesses with the entertainment capabilities of leisure phones and devices, and added a Web browser to connect users with anything available on the Internet. Though priced much higher than other mobile phones on the market at the time, it quickly gained marketshare simply because consumers could see it would transform their lives in ways that a traditional mobile phone could not.

Disruptive technologies do not only exist in personal computing technology. Closer to home, in this issue of Process Cooling, two well-known water experts propose a new field test for bacteria and Legionella. Paul R. Puckorius of Puckorius & Associates Inc., and John E. Dresty of Dresty Non-Chemical Water Treatment make a case that in many ways flies in the face of years of water treatment research.

Historical water treatment plans for water-contact industrial process cooling equipment call for sampling the water to determine whether the current water treatment is adequate to control total bacteria and Legionella within the equipment. While such testing provides some measure of the bacterial load in the cooling water, it doesn’t show the whole picture, say the authors. Their research has shown that testing cooling-water samples for corrosive bacteria such as sulfate-reducing bacteria (SRB) does not provide accurate information. While the water samples may show low levels of SRB, swab samples taken from beneath biofilm in the tower can show high levels of SRB. Puckorius and Dresty make the case for testing the biofilm to determine accurate bacterial and Legionella loads.

For another take on water treatment, you can listen to Process Cooling’s recent webinar, “How to Develop a First-Rate Cooling Water Treatment Program.” Presented by Paul R. Puckorius, the on-demand webinar offers a video presentation on the best ways to optimize your water plan. View it any time by registering for the webinar at