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ASHRAE Rescinds News Release
May 10, 2010

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has received numerous comments and questions concerning its April 2010 press release, posted on on April 16th, relating to research project no. RP 1361, Biological Control in Cooling Towers Using Non-Chemical Water Treatment Devices. After careful consideration, ASHRAE has decided to rescind that press release pending further review. The cognizant ASHRAE Technical Committee, TC 3.6 Water Treatment, which sponsored and is responsible for the project, has not yet reviewed the final report. TC 3.6 expects to complete its review, including voting on whether to recommend approval of the final report, within the next 30-60 days. In addition, the prior press release referenced Legionella though the project Statement of Work did not include protocols for testing for Legionella.

RP 1361, as is typical of experimental research projects, did not involve actual full-scale cooling towers operating in a working cooling system. Rather, researchers constructed a very small Plexiglas model of a cooling tower, fully complying with the proposal submitted by the researcher and approved by TC. 3.6. There are significant variances between the preliminary results of the study and actual field results recorded by non-chemical device manufacturers. This is one aspect of the study that will be reviewed by TC 3.6 and may indicate the need for further research.

Regardless of the type of water treatment used, ASHRAE recommends that owners of cooling and refrigeration systems conduct routine testing to evaluate whether the water treatment is working effectively.

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