New Cooling Towers Help Protect Lady Liberty

Aug. 6, 2009
New, corrosion-proof cooling towers help protect national landmark

She’s put on a nice face for more than 100 years, silently welcoming seafarers to these shores with dignity and grace. But deep down, the Statue of Liberty was hurting.

Standing in the wet, salty environment of New York Harbor left her interior workings vulnerable to massive corrosion and malfunction.

Something needed to be done, so, earlier this year, John Culkin, president of C & S Building Services, Farmingdale, NY, led a team of HVAC technicians to Liberty Island to install two new cooling towers. The steel-clad towers that had served the statue for more than 10 years were rusty and ruined.

“We needed a corrosion-proof cooling tower. Even the stainless steel towers they had out there couldn’t survive the elements. We wanted a maintenance-free solution for a wet, salty environment,” Culkin says. Culkin has worked with the National Park Service for eight years. But he never had to figure out how to ferry hefty equipment from the mainland to Liberty Island. If the replacement towers were too heavy, the rigging fees would skyrocket because a bigger, more powerful crane would be necessary.

Since C&S manages maintenance and repair activities for a long list of firms, he knew about Delta Cooling Towers. The firm has been manufacturing non-corrosive, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cooling equipment since 1971. Culkin knew plastic cooling towers were easy to maintain and impervious to harsh environments. “The motivating factor was the corrosion proof aspect. If you look at the kind of maintenance you have to perform on most cooling towers, corrosion isn’t your primary issue. But in this case, in New York Harbor, corrosion maintenance would have been an enormous liability. By choosing Delta we greatly reduced those costs.”

Transporation Issues Solved
The lightweight plastic towers also solved Culkin’s transportation dilemma. A normal sized crane could easily lift the equipment to the deck of a ferry; and the National Park Service zoom boom would suffice when the C&S team arrived at Liberty Island. Culkin’s five-member team installed a 250-ton Premier tower to cool the museum at Liberty Island. A smaller 70-ton Paragon tower was chosen to cool the interior space of the Statue of Liberty. The service technicians also performed a controls upgrade, and replaced pumps, disconnect switches and the steel piping outside the statue. The work took about six weeks and was completed in time for 2008 Independence Day festivities.