Project profile: Airport water filtration systems installation

New water filtration systems minimize manual cleaning and cooling tower downtime.


MSP Airport is the 43rd busiest airport in the world as of 2013. Courtesy: TekleenProject name: MSP Airport
Project type:
System overhaul
Building type: Airport
Location: St. Paul, Minn.
Timeline:1/1/2013 to 10/1/2014

The project consisted of two filtration systems from Tekleen Automatic Filters being installed on two of the three cooling towers of MSP Airport Humphrey terminal 2. One system was installed first to verify its efficiency and functions. After a season, the second filter system was installed for the other cooling tower. The entire MSP airport comprises  17.5 million sq ft, including both terminal 1 and terminal 2 ramps and other buildings. It uses a facility-wide building automation system to track operation of the connected systems and devices. The units installed on terminal 2 were connected to this system to provide operational data to the facility management.

Project challenges
Prior to the installation, the evaporative cooler nozzles were continually plugging up from contaminants which might include dust, bugs, small objects, and pipe rust, typical of this type of cooling system. As a result, this condition required significant downtime for cleaning and maintenance. MSP Airport strives to be as energy-efficient as possible, and wanted to reduce the labor intensity required to keep the cooling towers functioning well and reliably.

The new filters were meant to keep the evaporative cooling system clean and to maintain good working order. At terminal 2, the heated water from the chiller is cooled in the cooling tower through the heat exchanger, from 90 to 95 F down to 80 to 85 F before it is sent back to the chiller. With the self-cleaning filters, the debris is continually filtered out of the water. The spray nozzles remain open, and maintenance shutdowns are minimized.

Before the installation of the filter units, the MSP terminal cooling towers required intensive manual cleaning 5 to 6 times every week and a long shutdown period each time. The small size of the cooling tower nozzles meant a lengthy manual cleaning process. After the units were installed, the service was required only twice during the summer. The frequency of cleaning and resulting down time were dramatically reduced. Rough numbers are over $15,000 in saved labor.

Close view of the filter, vertical installation. Courtesy: TekleenFront side of cooling towers at terminal 2. Courtesy: TekleenBack side of cooling towers at terminal 2, showing one of the two installed filters. It is the large cylinder hanging vertically beneath the walkway. Courtesy: Tekleen

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