What is Ozone
It is the process of using ozone to purify, that is removing the
harmful micro organisms that can make you sick, from our drinking
water. This process has been used in drinking water plants since 1906
where the first industrial ozonation plant was built in Nice, France
and is more widely used in Europe and Asia than the United States.
Have you ever smelled the clean, fresh scent in
the air just after a sudden summer thunderstorm? ...... That's the ozone!
In this case, you smell ozone, which has been creating from lighting
bolts during the electrical storm. Ozone is also created by the sun’s
ultra violet rays reacting with the Earth's upper atmosphere which
creates our protective ozone layer.
At the instant that ozone is created, the oxygen (O2) molecules in the
air are broken apart, by either the suns UV rays or by intense
electrical discharge (lightening) and then recombined with an extra
oxygen atom (O3).
Ozone is a very reactive and unstable gas with a short half-life before
it reverts back to oxygen. Ozone is the most powerful and rapid acting
oxidizer man can produce, and will oxidize all bacteria, mold and yeast
spores, organic material and viruses given sufficient
exposure. It is said to be:
- 50 times more powerful than chlorine and
- 3000 times faster at killing bacteria and other
How are Germs
and Bacteria killed during Ozone Water Purification?
- Does not leave any by-products such as, with
chlorine which create trihalomethanes (THM's).
Ozone is made up of three
oxygen atoms (O3) a "free radical" of oxygen. It will readily
give up one atom of oxygen providing a powerful oxidising agent which
is toxic to most waterborne organisms such as bacteria, mold and yeast
spores, viruses or harmful protozoa that form cysts.
This single Oxygen atoms binds with these substance causing them to
oxidize (think iron tuning into Iron Oxide - Rust). The byproduct of
this oxidation a single Oxygen atom.
advantages of using Ozone Water Purification include:
- Ozone is primarily a disinfectant that
effectively kills biological contaminants.
- Ozone also oxidizes and precipitates iron,
sulfur, and manganese so they can be filtered out.
- Ozone will oxidize and break down many organic
chemicals including many that cause odor and taste problems.
- Ozonation produces no taste or odor in the
disadvantages of using Ozone Water Purification include:
- Ozone is made of oxygen and reverts to pure
oxygen and it vanishes without a trace once it has been used.
- Ozone treatment can create undesirable
byproducts,formaldehyde and bromate, that can be harmful to
health if they are not controlled.
- The process of creating ozone in the home
requires electricity. Loss of power menas
- Ozone is ineffective at removing dissolved
minerals and salts.
- Water companies that use ozone to disinfect the
water must add chlorine or another disinfectant must be added
to minimize microbial growth during storage
How Does an
Ozone Water Purification System Work?
Ozone is created with what is called an Ozone Generator. It
creates O3 in much the same way as the sun does. A chamber with a high
intensity Ultraviolet (UV) light is filled with compressed air which
then converts some of the oxygen in the air into ozone.
This ozone is then sent through a line into a diffuser, which creates
ozone-saturated bubbles. Water is drawn in to mix with the bubbles, and
then fed into the water purification tank.
The weak Oxygen molecule in
the Ozone attaches to other organic molecules in the water and
oxidizies them. This is the oxidation process that was discussed earlier.
It is important to note that the effectiveness of the process is
dependent, on good mixing of ozone with the water, and ozone does not
dissolve particularly well, so a well designed system that exposes all
the water to the ozone is important.
The ozone water purification system is one of the most advanced
water treatment processes in the water industry.
In the home, ozone is
often combined with activated carbon filtration to achieve a more
complete water treatment. These systems for your home can be quite expensive and are not readly available.