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High atop the Southern Natural Gas Company (SoNat) headquarters building-- the tallest building in Birmingham, Alabama -- sits what appears to be a series of large galvanized steel boxes. These are the building's cooling towers. Situated atop large buildings across the southern states, the voluminous, box-like cooling towers are used to contain water that is circulated throughout the building's air conditioning system.
The warm, humid weather of the southeastern United States is a difficult environment for materials of any kind. When you add the effects of constant water submersion found in cooling towers, the results can be devastating. Assailed by the elements outside and the constant flow of water inside, cooling towers are a prime target for corrosion.