in Water Treatment - Basics
been in use for 150 years.
has to be made on site, it can’t be stored
kills bacteria and viruses, also disassembles large organic
is more powerful than chlorine Chlorine is toxic and leaves
toxic byproducts in the water
while ozone does not.
Ozone (O3) is an altered, energized form of Oxygen
(O2). The oxygen in the air that you are breathing right now
is only two
atoms of oxygen attached together, which is the reason why you
see it written “O2”. When Oxygen (O2) is exposed
to an energy field, high speed collisions occur due to the energizing
of the oxygen (O2). During these collisions, some of the O2 molecules
are split apart, and become Ozone (O3). Ozone, is simply three
atoms of oxygen attached together. It might seem that because
Ozone is 3 atoms of oxygen and “Oxygen” is two atoms
of oxygen attached together, that ozone would behave more or
less the same as ‘oxygen’. Nothing could be further
from the truth. It is ozone’s differences from ambient ‘oxygen’ (O2)
that make it so useful for water purification, air purification,
and so many other uses.
Ozone is an extremely powerful ‘oxidant’. What is
an oxidant? To keep this article simple and relatively free of
complex chemistry it is best to simply describe an oxidant as
something that can disassemble or destroy complex molecules.
The most common ‘oxidant’ that you have likely heard
of before is Chlorine. Chlorine is used in water purification
because it kills bacteria and viruses, and also destroys complex
chemical molecules that would otherwise be harmful if you drank
them in your water. That is the good part about chlorine. However,
chlorine itself has been found to cause cancer. More importantly,
when chlorine combines with complex organic molecules (such as
those found in drinking water that has not yet been treated)
and destroys them, the byproducts that are formed are even more
toxic (carcinogenic or ‘cancer causing’) than the
chlorine itself. These byproducts of chlorinating the water are
called THM’s or “TriHaloMethanes”.
So why is chlorine used for water purification? Because it is
easy to apply to the water, is relatively inexpensive, kills
pathogens in the water (disease causing organisms), and destroys
complex chemicals in the water. This all sounds fantastic until
you remember the information in the paragraph above, that chlorine
itself is cancer causing, as are the THM’s that remain
in the water after the chlorine has been applied. Wouldn’t
it be nice if we could find a non-toxic agent (oxidant) that
could purify water, that would also leave the water pure and
contaminant free, with no toxic byproducts? We have! Ozone.
Ozone is 35 times more powerful than chlorine and can kill pathogens
(harmful organisms) is seconds rather than minutes. Ozone was
discovered in 1840 and by the 1890’s was recognized as
a safe and effective oxidizing agent for water purification.
Ozone was found to be so safe that all major cities in Europe
use ozone for primary disinfection of their water supply. Most
of these cities began using ozone for water purification in the
1800’s and continue to this day.
Ozone is highly unstable and reactive. This means that even if
it doesn’t run into any contaminants in water or air it
will automatically revert back to oxygen (O2). So, ozone needs
to be made on site, at the time that it is going to be applied
to the water to purify the water. It can’t be stored for
long periods of time. In fact, if you make ozone right now, and
save it in a glass bottle, only half of that ozone will remain
in the bottle after 30 minutes. Where did it go? It didn’t
really ‘go’ anywhere, the O3 molecules simply fell
apart back into O2 molecules. Since it needs to be made on site
and at the time of application, this is the reason anyone wishing
to use ozone for water purification can’t buy ozone. Instead,
you need to buy a machine that makes ozone, called an ‘ozone
Ozone itself is non-toxic, and when it reacts with organic
molecules in the water there are no toxic byproducts, just
pure clean water
safe for drinking, and for swimming pools. At the present
time there are almost 300 cities in the USA using ozone for
purification. Some of them are:
Why isn’t your city using ozone for water
purification for drinking water and swimming pools? Given the
chlorine and the safety of ozone, that is a question you need
to be asking your city counselors.
If you would like to Ozonate your own water, please read the
accompanying article ‘Ozone Generators for Water Purification’.
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