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Microbial growth in cooling water systems causes corrosion, decreases energy efficiency, and has the potential to cause human infection. Control of microbial growth in these systems is typically achieved with the use of chemical biocides. Recently, non-chemical water treatment methods have seen increased use as an alternative. However, few objective studies with an untreated system as a reference are available to verify the efficacy of these devices to control microbial growth in cooling towers. Therefore, the specific objective of this investigation was to provide a controlled, independent, and scientific evaluation of several classes of non-chemical treatment devices (NCDs) for controlling biological activity in a model cooling tower system.