Many large cooling towers have been constructed over the past twenty years with asbestos-cement fill. A total of forty-eight power plants were surveyed as a part of this investigation. Approximately, one-third of those surveyed use asbestos cement for fill or for other components (i.e., louvers, walls, etc.) of the cooling tower. At roughly half of these installations, the cooling water has caused noticeable deterioration of the fill, in two known cases, the deterioration degradation of the asbestos-cement fill is suspected to be leaching of the cement from the fill. Release of these asbestos fibers into the environment through either cooling tower blowdown or as an aerosol (i.e., draft) from the tower may result in adverse regulatory and/or health impact. This paper summarizes the survey, describes the extent and severity of the problem, discusses the causes, and suggests corrective action. The paper is based upon a research project funded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

82-05: Controlling The Deterioration of Asbestos Cement Cooling Tower Fill

  • Winston Chow, Electric Power Research Inst., Richard W. Stone Brown and Caldwell Consulting Engr.