Ozone Disinfection Safety Plan Guide

ozone disinfection safety

Ozone Disinfection Safety Plan Guide

Ozone Disinfection Safety Guidelines

Ozone disinfection safety is one of the most effective ways to kill water-borne bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. Containing no chemicals or additives, ozonation is ideal for organic food safety and bad-tasting tap water alike.

Here are some general guidelines for avoiding unsafe levels of ozone exposure from drinking or showering with treated water:

  • Check with your local government agency to see if ozone treatment is available in your area.
  • Do not drink water from a well or pond.
  • When showering, do not exceed the manufacturer’s suggested safe levels of ozone exposure.

Ozone is a type of gas with the chemical formula O3, which contains three oxygen atoms bonded together in a spheroid shape. Ozone is colorless and odorless, but if you hold an open bottle near your nose or have someone blow on it for you, ozone smells like rotten eggs.

Ozone is a powerful oxidizer that can react with other chemicals to kill microorganisms. When it reacts with viruses, the two break apart and release their DNA into the air. This is known as contact disinfection, because you come into contact with the virus or bacteria. Ozone also has another type of reaction with certain types of bacteria called gas-phase disinfection. In this case, ozone molecules travel through water in straight lines searching for those bad guys until they’re close enough to combine with them, destroying or disabling them.

Ozone is a powerful oxidizer, which means it can react with other chemicals to kill microorganisms. When it reacts with viruses or bacteria, the two break apart and release their DNA into the air. This is known as contact disinfection, because you come into contact with the virus or bacteria. Ozone also has another type of reaction called gas-phase disinfection, which means ozone molecules travel through water in straight lines searching for those bad guys until they’re close enough to combine with them, destroying or disabling them.

Ozone does not disinfect bacteria or viruses that may be present in the water, so ozone must be added to the water for it to be effective. In order to disinfect, ozone needs an organic or inorganic chemical known as a “catalyst” or “scavenger.” This catalyst will react with and break down the virus or bacterium before ozone can kill them. The catalyst could be anything from chlorine (chlorine bleach) to silver (silverware polish). In most cases, it is some combination of both. Chlorine kills bacteria by dissolving them while silver displaces and reacts with them. With a proper catalyst, ozone in the water will kill 99.9% of microorganisms present in it.

Ozone is also effective against protozoa such as giardia and cryptosporidium, which are also called “giardia cysts” and “cryptosporidium oocysts.” It does not eliminate these cysts from streams or lakes, but it can significantly decrease concentrations.

Ozone is not as effective at killing cryptosporidium oocysts, so a micropore filter (0.2 microns) must be installed to remove them. An 0.2 micron filter is a course filter, meaning that the pores of the filter are large enough to allow the cysts to pass through and small enough to stop all other waterborne pathogens. A fine 5-micron filter can also be used if you have no need for chlorine in your water. The smaller the micron rating of a filter, the finer the pore.

Ozone will not remove all bacteria and viruses from your water, but it does make it safer. If you don’t have ozone available from your local water treatment plant or if you choose not to install an ozone generator, consider adding an aging and disinfection system (A&D). These systems are designed to age water in large holding tanks to provide up to 45 minutes of contact time for the chlorine added to kill any residual bacteria or virus. As a result, the water is not sterile but is much safer than untreated water.

What Does This Mean for the Environment?

Ozone is a powerful disinfectant that kills many types of pathogens in water. It is especially effective against viruses and cysts when combined with chlorine or other disinfectants. Ozone also has the unique ability to remove turbidity from water, making it clearer. This is an important consideration when selecting a disinfectant for recreational waters.

Because ozone is used in the ozone/chlorine reaction, the levels of chlorine needed are greatly reduced, making it more environmentally friendly. Ozone also reduces the need for costly filtration and purification (carbon) systems used to remove tastes and odors from water.

The Advantages of Ozone Treatment

There are several advantages to using ozone:

  • The primary characteristics of ozone (odor and taste removal, water clarifying, and disinfection) are provided by the ozone/chlorine reaction. This means that one disinfectant provides multiple services in one process. Fewer chemicals are needed to do the job.
  • Ozone is a naturally occurring gas found in all living things and in the atmosphere. With this natural weathering, the crystals are slowly transported by wind and rain water, until they finally end up in the ground. These remains have been found in India, China, southern Europe and all across the North America. In the Sahara desert du Sahara oasis of Egypt, where temperatures barely go over 15 degrees Celsius it was not only water but also minerals of the pyrite that caused desertification. In the water due to the presence of the pyrite lead pollution can be reduced up to 99.999%.
  • Ozone is a highly stable compound, meaning that it does not degrade into dangerous products during storage or handling. So, ozone stored for many years in your water system will still be effective at killing viruses and bacteria.
  • Ozone does not contain any toxic by-products, such as other disinfectants do, and is therefore environmentally friendly.
  • Ozone does not create offensive or smelly by-products. Ozone is odorless and tasteless, so it can be used for taste or odor control without affecting the quality of your water.
  • It is possible to detect the presence of virus or bacteria in a water system with the use of ozone by testing for them after treatment. This provides you with an early warning system that can help you take preventative measures against contamination.
  • Ozone is relatively inexpensive, compared to other disinfectants. It also has a long shelf-life, so you can store it for a long time.
  • With ozone, there is no risk of corrosion or chemical storage. Ozone does not react with anything other than viruses and bacteria (except chlorine) or produce harmful byproducts. If unused, it can be stored indefinitely as a gas at very low temperatures.
  • Ozone is a good choice for temperatures below freezing, as it does not freeze at low temperatures. For this reason, ozone is the perfect choice for inset water systems. You can pipe your water directly from your well to your house and have it deliver the quality of water that you need.
  • Ozone has no adverse effects on aquatic life such as fish or other aquatic animals. In fact, ozone supports plant and animal growth by killing bacteria and viruses in the water that cause disease in plants.
  • Ozone is non-toxic to humans and animals. It has no ill effects on the human body.
  • Ozone has a wide variety of uses and applications in industry, agriculture, paper, food processing and even the pharmaceutical industry.

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