Ozone & ultraviolet technologies used to treat water to disinfect and remove iron and manganese.
Ozone is also used in water as a natural rinse for fresh food and for packaging such as bottles in a bottling plant.
Ozone has been instrumental in protecting earth and its life forms for so long that it is almost incomprehensible. Compared to man, ozone has been around forever. It is not just a beneficial molecule, but is absolutely essential to this planet we call home. But, there is much apprehension and misunderstanding regarding ozone use in treating drinking water. Hopefully the following information can help qualm some of these concerns.
WHAT IS OZONE ?
Ozone (O3) or trioxygen is a molecule composed of three (3) oxygen atoms, temporarily existing in a very unstable and reactive state. Ozone is so reactive that a suitable container for storage probably does not exist. Unlike the O2 molecule described in the next paragraph, this triatomic oxygen defies man’s attempts to store or liquefy it. Compared to O2, O3 is an extremely active molecule, probably by a factor of 1,000 times and is sometimes referred to as activated oxygen.
Oxygen (O2) is normally thought of as the fraction of air which is utilized in breathing. It is very necessary and has many common and obvious uses. This regular oxygen or dioxygen is a relatively stable molecule, composed of two (2) oxygen atoms held together with a fairly firm double bond. This diatomic oxygen is stable enough to compress, liquefy and store, yet it is still quite reactive.
Ozone can be visualized as a regular O2 molecule with a very nervous, active, reactive, excitable, energetic, corrosive and lively O1 atom as a side kick. This monatomic O1 atom does not like to be alone, and near the earth surface, it refuses to stay with the fairly stable O2 double bond. It is active and reactive, with energy needing to be channeled in some useful direction. It will combine with virtually anything on contact, or at least will try. This active O1 will not stabilize until it can break away from the O2 and form a stable molecule with something else, virtually any other molecule that is available. If no other molecule is available, it will eventually unite with another O1 atom in the same situation, and restabilize as O2. Ozone is a very strong disinfectant and oxidizer. Any pathogen or contaminant that can be disinfected, altered or removed via an oxidation process will be affected by ozone. It is the strongest of all molecules available for disinfection in water treatment, and is second
only to elemental fluorine in oxidizing power. Compared to chlorine, the most common water disinfection chemical, ozone is a more than 50% stronger oxidizer and acts over 3,000 times faster. Both chlorine and fluorine are highly toxic chemicals.
On this planet, ozone is a major work horse. From the highest reaches of the atmosphere to the bottom of the deepest ocean, ozone is a very efficient protector, provider and recycler. It constantly tries to get rid of one oxygen atom, O3 O2+O1,which allows it to react with almost anything it encounters.
When this single oxygen atom (O1) forms a tight bond with twin hydrogen atoms, we have water (H2O), without which this planet would be as barren as the moon. Without water, life as we know, it can not exist.
WHY USE OZONE ?
There is a logarithmic increase in the human population and a zero increase in the fresh water supply on this planet. Man, by choice, does not necessarily live where the best water is and also tends to abuse the water wherever he does live. Besides contaminating it with various noxins and toxins he produces, man continues to place more demand, uses and reuses on this existing finite fresh water supply. There is very little doubt that this tendency
will continue world wide. Man and pollution will not cease, so it will need to be removed to keep our current and future sources of drinking water safe and palatable.
Ozone treatment is quite efficient and effective in achieving pollution removal, allowing people more flexibility to use water that exists where they are, or where they want to be.
Our ground water, steams, lakes, rivers and oceans are subject to a wide range of human caused assaults. Some of these problems are associated with large molecular structures and unoxidized molecules. Ozone breaks down large and long chain molecules into smaller building blocks. These smaller molecules are then usually more biodegradable and less dangerous.
In most cases, the smaller molecules are a lesser pollution problem or impact, as they are more readily recycled or reused in the environment or removable in a filtration process.
Ozone can be used as a disinfectant, decolorizer, deodorizer, detoxifier, precipitant, coagulant and for removing tastes. Consequently, the use of ozone should be considered when there is a need to address any of these problems, and particularly when there is suspicion of waterborne pathogens.
Ozone coagulates and precipitates many substances by itself, and is also a reasonably effective flocculant. Because of this, it can reduce other chemical loading in treatment facilities.
Ozone production on site, via normal corona discharge, eliminates the problems transporting, storing and handling of hazardous and dangerous materials.
For efficiency, ozone is outstanding, as it is the most powerful and effective broad spectrum microbiological control or disinfecting agent available. As an example, for the inactivation of Giardia cysts the C t (concentration & time) is about 100 times greater for free chlorine than for ozone. With viruses the CT is about six times greater for chlorine than for ozone. For Cryptosporidium, ozone is the recommended disinfectant.
Consequently, with ozone, there is less need to add high concentrations of a long lived poison to the water you will soon be drinking. When ozone is utilized, the chlorine need is greatly reduced, as it is then needed only as a way to provide a residual in the distribution system, at 0.2 mgCl2/L. This minimizes the potential for producing carcinogenic THMs and helps protect your health.
Ozone is of particular value in water treatment systems because of its ability to disinfect without adding other chemicals which may later need to be removed. As with other treatment methods, the oxidized by-products of ozonation may need to be removed by filtration or settling to provide acceptably clean clear water.
Water, being the universal solvent that it is, seldom remains pure water (H2O). Even the double distilled water used in laboratories contains dissolved traces of other substances. Ozone will decompose in water by itself (slower than in air), as well as reacting with almost anything dissolved or carried in the water.
As clean as rain water is assumed to be, it can usually be improved after ozonation and filtration. This statement would be especially true in discussing the acid rains.
The following are some common uses of ozone:
- Algicide – very effective, most if not all
- Amoebicide – extremely effective, kills all known
- Aquaculture aid – many uses
- Bactericide – extremely effective, kills all known
- BOD COD enhancement – quite effective, as this IS real live OXYGEN
- Coagulant – quite effective
- Contaminate remover – very selective
- Decolorizer – usually effective, organic, inorganic, simple and complex, mineral and carbon
- Deodorizer – very effective, most are removed
- Detoxifier – quite specific; some quick, others slowly, some not at all
- Disinfectant – extremely effective, most if not all
- Dissolved solids – fairly effective, inorganic and organic
- Flocculant aid – quite effective, fairly specific
- Fungicide – very effective, all known
- Hardness – slightly effective with some specific changes
- Metals – very effectively on some, manganese and iron
- Oxygenator – extremely effective, particularly boreholes
- Particulates – quite effective, inorganic and organic
- Pesticide – very effective; kills worms, flukes, fish, snails, eggs, larvae, etc.
- Precipitant – quite effective, extremely useful
- Precursor reduction – very effective, ie. THMs
- Softness – somewhat effective, assists and improves specifically
- Taste – very effective, removes or enhances most
- Turbidity – quite effective, prepares inorganics and organics for filtration
- Viricide – extremely effective, kills all known viruses
- Waste and effluent – quite effective, excellent in a wide range of uses
Ozone treated drinking water can be expected to be:
- Non Staining