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Ozone Water Purification 

What is Ozone Water Purification?

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.

Ozone Formation by LighteningHave 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 microbes
  • Does not leave any by-products such as, with chlorine which create trihalomethanes (THM's).
How are Germs and Bacteria killed during Ozone Water Purification?

Ozone FormationOzone 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.

The 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 water.
  • Ozone is made of oxygen and reverts to pure oxygen and it vanishes without a trace once it has been used. 
The disadvantages of using Ozone Water Purification include:
  • 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 no purification.
  • 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 and distribution.   

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.

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