Disinfection – Chlorine Versus Ozone

We have learned throughout this blog that contamination is a natural state for water. For several scientific reasons water absorbs impurities from the substances it comes into contact with, including the surrounding air. Left alone, water is a natural breeding ground for bacteria, algae, fungi, amoebas and other organic life. These properties make it very challenging for municipal water treaters because as soon as the drinking water is pumped into the pipes and water towers, it begins to degrade and become contaminated.

Chlorine and the substance called Chloramine (Ammonia + Chlorine) are by far the most dependable, affordable, and effective chemicals to keep water safe from what we call organic growth. The strength of chlorine is it’s relatively long half life. It stays in the water long enough to make it to your pipes and faucets in a safe-to-drink state.

Recently I viewed a comment where someone untrained in water informed an entire website population that Chlorine is outdated and then suggested that technologies like Ozone and Ultraviolet Light have replaced it. This is not true. Chlorine is still used by all known municipalities. Other technologies do indeed stop organic growth, but they have shortcomings.

Ozone, or O3, is created by passing oxygen, 02, over an electrical arc, essentially lightning created in a small machine. Only Hydrogen is a more effective oxidant than Ozone. However, Hydrogen is too dangerous and doesn’t last long enough to be used in drinking water systems. Likewise, Ozone returns to regular old oxygen shortly after being created. While these technologies can help lower the initial dose of chlorine needed to kill bacteria in the raw water, they don’t affect how much chlorine the municipality injects into the final drinking water supply.

Furthermore, ultraviolet light simply inactivates bacteria, but does not prevent new growth. Moral of the story?


Tommy V
Tommy V
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