How ultrasonic flow meters help reduce the risk of Legionella

Jul 7, 2020

News from Badger Meter

As many buildings sat empty during the peak of stay-at-home orders, the risk of legionella bacterium growth increased substantially. Legionella bacteria pose significant health concerns, so many building and facility managers are investing in skid-mounted systems to treat water. Find out why skid manufacturers are including ultrasonic clamp-on flow meters within these systems to provide safe, clean and properly treated water for customers.


How Ultrasonic Clamp-on Meters Help Reduce the Risk of Legionella in Industrial Buildings

The growth of legionella bacterium is a significant concern in industrial buildings, especially now as many buildings sit empty and water is stagnant. To reduce the risk of legionella bacteria contamination that can cause significant health concerns, building and facility managers invest in skid-mounted systems to treat water. Keep reading to find out why skid manufacturers are including ultrasonic clamp-on flow meters in their systems to provide safe, clean water for customers.

Legionella Outbreaks in Industrial Buildings

Legionella is a bacteria that can cause legionellosis (Legionnaires’ disease), a severe form of pneumonia, when inhaled or ingested. According to the Mayo Clinic, Legionnaires’ disease causes inflammation of the lungs. It can also cause infections in wounds and other parts of the body, including the heart, which can be fatal. Legionella was originally discovered after an outbreak in Philadelphia in 1976. Since then, cases have been on the rise with nearly 10,000 reported cases in 2018 alone.

Today, building water systems continue to be the leading source of legionella bacteria growth, due to water stagnation and warm temperatures. Even in potable water systems, legionella can grow and multiply quickly within cooling towers, hot and cold-water systems, water fountains and make-up and boiler feed water if bacteria is present. In fact, legionella bacteria can survive chlorine treatment in municipal water treatment plants, which is why it’s crucial that buildings invest in solutions that provide consistent testing and treatment.

The risk of legionellosis can be minimized if buildings follow defined requirements during design, construction, operation, maintenance and repair of systems as outlined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 188-2018. In most states, building owners and managers have a legal obligation to ensure the water is monitored and cleaned regularly to prevent legionella outbreaks, so they invest in a skid-mounted water treatment system.

Using Ultrasonic Clamp-on Meters for Prevention and Treatment

Dynasonics TFX 5000 Ultrasonic Clamp-on Meter

Ultrasonic clamp-on flow meters are a proven asset in legionella prevention and treatment. Our Dynasonics® TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on meter clamps onto a pipe’s exterior and accurately measures flow rate with accuracies of +0.5%. Based on the flow rate, the meter sends a signal back to the controller, informing them what amount of chemicals or positively charged ions are needed to properly treat the water. The faster the flow rate, the more chemicals or copper and silver are needed to kill the legionella.

The TFX-5000 ultrasonic clamp-on flow meter fits a wide range of pipes, from ½” up to 48”. Unlike insertion meters that require cutting pipes and risk water contamination during installation, the TFX-5000 flow meter never comes in contact with the internal liquid, reducing the risk of contagions from entering the system. Its simple clamp-on design makes it an ideal option for most any pipe material. A single installer can clamp the meter onto the pipe and program it for operation within an hour. If service needs change or measurement is required on another pipe, the TFX-5000 meter is easily disconnected and installed wherever it’s needed.

Adding Ultrasonic Clamp-on Meters to Your Skid Management Systems

From infection control and healthcare professionals to risk and safety managers, industrial hygienists and plant or facility managers, skid manufacturers have a critical opportunity to help these individuals protect their water sources. And before reopening their facilities during this unprecedented time, every building manager and operator has the responsibility to restore water service and address the compounded risk of legionella growth. Many skid manufacturers are introducing TFX-5000 meters into their processes to simplify prevention and treatment operations. Learn more about the benefits of these ultrasonic clamp-on meters and then talk to our experts about adding them to your water treatment solution.