Cooling Towers & Evaporative Condensers; What is Notifiable?

First issued in our May 2016 Newsletter

The Notification of Cooling Towers and Evaporative Condensers Regulations (NCTEC) requires dutyholders to notify local authorities of cooling towers and evaporative condensers situated on premises under their control. 

The increasing use of dry/wet cooling systems has evolved since these regulations were made, but as the Regulations remain in force dutyholders are bound by their provisions. The requirement to notify is not based upon risk, but upon the definition in the Regulations which defines “evaporative condenser” as “a device whose main purpose is to cool a fluid by passing that fluid through a heat exchanger which is itself cooled by contact with water passing through a stream of air”. The correct interpretation of “main purpose” is with reference to the system’s technical fulfilment of the criteria (i.e. of being capable) of “cooling a fluid that is passed through a heat exchanger which is itself cooled by contact with water passing through a stream of air”, rather than whether it might not use water for part of the year. 

The Water Management Society, endorsed by HSE, has published guidance, The Control of Legionella in Dry/ Wet Cooling Systems, which gives further information on when such systems should be notified.

https://www.wmsoc.org.uk/publications/