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Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ...... #162216 04/14/07 07:59 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP

Any Doctors in the house..?

first some background, I'm working on some cooling towers at a POCO ....installing vibration monitoring..... there was a planned outage for the bolier, and the CTs were shutdown, however our "little " job was postponed for over a month but the shutdown ended yesterday with only about 30% of the work big deal it happens all the time

....EXCEPT now there is the hazard of being exposed to Legionella !!!

We, all seven of us, were informed late Friday that the other coolings towers out there have tested POSITIVE for the bacteria, but the POCO has given our shop info regarding the correct respirators that we "should " seems like POCO doesn't want to admit their foot dragging starting this job has now turned into a real #### mess....and is going to put some folks in a precarious's just not going to be their problem !

I have been in some really crappy places in my career , but this crap is the crappiest , and just in case you are wondering

YES ............I'm now scared

So, anyone here have any experience with this bug or words of encouragement

... besides holding my breath for 8 hours...

if theres a bright least Doofy ain't there.....

. . . .

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ...... [Re: togol] #162225 04/14/07 10:25 PM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 132
mhulbert Offline
Have you read this article?
Google for others...they are saying that in cooling tower situations, it may go over 6 km with FATAL results!!! You really need to stop work until you get hese decontaminated. Luckily, it seems that part is easy, 170 degree steam cleaning, or chemical treatment. However, I think you need to have somebody who is experienced in this work with you on making sure there is no risk towards you and other workers. We can talk about it all we want on ECN, but when it comes to death, you need an industrial hygenist or similiar type of person to add his expertise to your situation.

Check out those articles, I actually learned a lot more than I thought I knew about it!

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ...... [Re: mhulbert] #162229 04/14/07 11:04 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
stopping the job would be the solution..and get six guys laid-off..., pressing this issue with the customer will just result in a shut down until the next outage..

as I wrote they are NOT going to appear responsible....

if an outside contractor complains TOO much about safety then the job gets put on hold...lets face it vibration monitoring is just not that essential ....OTOH, if you violate THEIR safety rules, the result is the same......termination

I read other articles ..but that one finally mentioned domestic water systems , do they mean water heaters ?
that article also shed a light on why municipalities issue "boil "orders when a water main breaks

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ...... [Re: togol] #162237 04/15/07 04:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 132
mhulbert Offline
Why not just disinfect/boil everything in place? Given, cooling towers are hard to fully clean. Are they going to be running while you're working? If not, drain them and steam wash everything, there are even companies that will do this for you.

I imagine a solution exists between stopping work and not saying anything! OTOH, this has killed people, so it may come down to your personal choice as to if you want to be near this. How much is the job worth to you?


Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ...... [Re: mhulbert] #162241 04/15/07 08:35 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
the job situation around here has been rather grim for the last 5 years or so |! And if you get a job try to hang onto it...but the market is improving slowly...

We were told on Fri. that the dept. that does the testing was "surprised " that ALL the active towers were positive.... there was a warm spell a couple weeks back and they said that is most likely the reason

we have until Wednesday or Thursday before the fans get turned on and then everything will a good soaking..there were a few exposures last year there but the results are ......not available........

don't know what the water temp is before it drops thru the baffles, and it will be in those tubs, we are working along the edge of the tubs...and everyone is really really pissed off about this last minute crap on Friday......

aside from that, cleaning them is just not an option since the 14 fans are rather big at 30' dia. and the shrouds are about 15" tall on top of a 50' tower and all of them are going to be running later in the week anyway...

as I wrote the job was supposed to be done in the cold days of winter so the bugs are dead on sleeping or whatever the hell bacteria does in freezing temps

I have some Chephalexin and Levaquin...I'll call the Doc Monday

see what other "band-aid" he suggests

also I have no problem with the hazard..I have been in some other bad places in my neck of the woods..just different nasties....but the proper PPE was always available and it will be this time too....

we just didn't care for the piss poor way it got dropped on us at quitting time

...I'll send the Mods some snapshots from there to post here

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ... [Re: mhulbert] #162242 04/15/07 08:45 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
sadly the job is worth quite abit in these parts have been hard to come by and the ones you could find weren't worth a tinkers damn either the frying pan or the fire....the work outlook is supposed to finally improve around here again after about a five year downturn...but in the mean time folks have been hanging on to what spots they had and this is one of those situations....

Last edited by togol; 04/15/07 08:46 AM.

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ... [Re: togol] #162243 04/15/07 09:24 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
cleaning them is no longer an option since the cells will be turned on later in the week, besides they are rather big at 30' in dia. the shrouds are about 15' tall , the structure itself is about 50' and around 300' long holding 14 fans / cells....

This is why they are worked on during the Winter when everything is frozen, but this job was delayed for a little over five weeks and now Spring is finally here and warm weather is not good when dealing with these things

I will call my Doc on Monday, but I do have some antibiotics at home...J I C...

Last edited by togol; 04/15/07 09:27 AM.

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ... [Re: togol] #162261 04/15/07 10:33 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
LarryC Offline
The following link is from a gentleman who contracted Legionnaires Disease. The website is

Do a search under Legionella on that site and you will find all sots of usefull information.

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ... [Re: LarryC] #162272 04/16/07 05:06 AM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
thanks for the link Larry,

ugh! that stuff is very nasty

Last edited by togol; 04/16/07 05:09 AM.

Re: Legionnaires Disease...or just another day ... [Re: togol] #162342 04/17/07 08:09 PM
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 421
togol Offline OP
well, after these past two days, the POCO has pretty much told the shop that the porblem is NOT the POCOs..their policy for their employees is to provide one if someone wants it but it is not MANDATORY.

This morning the Shop faxed copies of a medical form for everyone one the job to fill out , it's 5 pages and wants our Med. history
..medications , physical problems, allergies, range of motion , the specific tasks each of us has.

the forms had to be back in Pa. at the main office by 12:30 PM and then someonefrom a testing outfit will be FLOWN out to Indiana to administer a pulmonary test ..if any of us fail that test they will be LAID-OFF..because the safety dept. is making the respirators mandatory..

so the problem is solved, for the shop anyway

it's a piss-poor posture by the customer IMO, but the Shop has to cover their butts, and this is the only way they will do it,

FWIW two of the guys have asthma and will most likely be going back to the Hall soon...!!

also I'm doing all the welding so this will add just another fun dimension

oh yeah I almost forgot..the Millwrights out there were NEVER told of the hazard so their shop is on the warpath too...

OK,OK I'm done with my rant.....I'm getting to old for this garbage

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