OZONATION … A SHORT LESSON
“Current EPA regulations for reduction of trihalomethanes pushes small community systems toward ozone technology.”
John Ireland, Chemist, US EPA, Department of Drinking Water
Ozone has been used for more than 100 years to purify water by oxidizing minerals such as iron, manganese and hydrogen sulfide and destroying bacteria, virus and cysts. It is more than 3,000 times faster than chlorine and is the most powerful microbiocide commonly available for water treatment. It is used for treating potable water, well water, industrial and commercial process water, wastewater, cooling tanks and holding tanks. Ozone’s primary treatment utility includes elimination of microbiological, mineral and chemical contamination as well as taste and odor.
Since the early 1900′s, ozone has been the primary disinfectant in European municipal water treatment. As in the US, much of the supply of city water in Europe is from surface sources. Because chlorine produces proven carcinogenic disinfection by-products called trihalomethanes (THM’s) when it reacts with organic substances common to surface water sources, ozone has been the treatment of choice in a rapidly growing number of US cities. Los Angeles, for example, installed the largest ozone water treatment plant in the world (600 million gallons per day) in the early ’90′s. Other large cities, including New York, and some 2,000 other US communities, utilize ozone for primary disinfection.
Support for Ozone by US EPA
The recent adoption of the Surface Treatment Rules by the United States Environmental Protection Agency places strict limits on disinfecting by-products (DPB’s), including THM’s. Because ozone products fewer DPB’s the EPA, along with the American Water Works Association, has emphasized the use of the ozone as a highly desirable water treatment alternative for small communities as well as large.
Cryptosporidium parvus, commonly called Crypto, a recently discovered microbe common in up to 86% of all municipal water sources, is eliminated only by either ozone or submicron filtration. It is completely impervious to chlorine. Crypto first was widely acknowledged as a public health threat when municipal water in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was infected, resulting in a reported 100 + deaths.
OZONE, THE NATURAL DISINFECTANT
Oxygen ……………………… Ozone
Ozone, is a pale blue tri-atomic form of oxygen. It is formed in nature by lightning and by the ultraviolet bombardment of oxygen molecules by sunlight.
Man-made ozone is formed by passing dry ambient air or oxygen through a high voltage field called a corona, which is produced inside an ozone generator. The high voltage breaks apart the oxygen (02) molecules and causes them to reform as Ozone (03), which is up to 13 times more soluble in water than oxygen.
When the ozone is dissolved in water, it’s unstable nature makes it highly reactive with oxidizable mineral, organic and microbiological contamination. Unlike chlorine, which merely deactivates bacteria after lengthy exposure time, ozone literally destroys bacteria on contact. The end product of ozone oxidation of organic matter is carbon dioxide and water. Ozone oxidizes mineral contaminants from a soluble form to an insoluble form, to permit final removal by filtration.
After ozone has done its job, it reverts back to pure oxygen, making it the most powerful non-chemical water treatment technology available.
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