The access to clean drinking water is an essential requirement across the world. This can only be achieved when you have access to a reliable sanitation system. Sanitation systems for water treatment is a method of controlling or eradicating a biological issue. These are typically mechanical or chemical in nature. Ultra-filters, for example, would be a mechanical method as it physically removes suspended matter down to 0.02 micron. Chlorine and bromine, for example, is a chemical method that comprises two or more elements that react with the enzymes and proteins of a biological contaminant. Ozone, ultraviolet light (UV), ionization can be considered a hybrid method as they do not use chemicals nor physically remove biological contaminants. Instead, they use radiation, charged particles, or unstable molecules, which does not fit the definition of a chemical either.
An Overview of Different Sanitation Systems
There are various types of sanitation or water disinfection systems used across the world. The following are a few prominent ones.
- Chemicals: The most common chemicals used in drinking water sanitation include chlorine, chloramines, and peracetic acid (PAA). For municipal applications in the US, chlorine gas is generally used as it is very easy to dispense, control, and remotely monitor the chlorine levels. It is one of the few cost-effective options that meets the criteria required under by EPA regulations. Smaller US community systems would fall under State regulations that generally coincide with Federal guidelines. Smaller systems may use specialized calcium hypochlorite dosing systems or liquid sodium hypochlorite injection systems. Chloramines are not as widely utilized anymore as it is believed to cause pitting in copper pipe and brass fixtures. PAA is commonly used in Europe and Canada for wastewater treatment. It is making headway into the drinking water market as it does not have the toxic disinfection byproducts (DPB) that chlorine has. These chemical feed systems are available through Intec but do not appear on this site.
As the concerns for DPBs grow, more chemical-free alternatives have gained popularity. The most popular are ozone, UV, and ionization. They are discussed below in detail:
- Ultraviolet Systems: UV lights produce that produce a wavelength from 200-300 nanometer wavelengths. The UV light is known to degrade or mutate DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid), which instructs an organism as how to reproduce and function. During the UV disinfection process, water is made to pass through a chamber that features a UV-producing lamp. As the water flows through the chamber, the UV rays penetrate into the microorganism and destroys its DNA. These are generally POE systems. It is recommended that all scale producing minerals are removed first and these systems are generally installed after a water softener. Otherwise, mineral scale will interfere with the UV light wavelength in the quarts sleeve rendering its effectiveness. The advantage is that it does not alter the aesthetics of water including taste and does not produce product harmful DPBs. Today, various types of commercial ultraviolet systems are available. They are used for residential water, wastewater treatment, and swimming pool sanitation. Medium pressure and pulsating UV lights are used in industrial and waste water applications and have the advantage of treating opaque or cloudy water where low pressure systems simply cannot. Whether it is a wastewater UV disinfection system or swimming pool sanitation system, they all work on the same principle. However, Intec does not feel it offers much benefit as the quartz sleeve scales quickly and many biologicals reproduce faster than the water can be recirculated though a pool. It does offer the benefit of reducing chloramines and it converts them back to chlorides. It does require annual maintenance of replacing the UV bulb and the quartz sleeve may need cleaning or replacing overtime.
- Ozonation: Ozonation is one of the important water disinfection technologies used today and it involves ozone, which is a variant of oxygen and has a molecular formula O3. In nature, it is formed during lightening in the upper atmosphere. However, when used for water treatment it is artificially produced using ozone generators.
Ozone generators utilize one of two technologies - UV and corona discharge. Ozone, like chlorine, is an oxidant. In fact, it is a much stronger oxidizer. It is extremely effective at killing microorganisms. It is also highly effective at oxidizing metals such as iron and manganese and precipitating sulfur from forming a hydrogen sulfide gas. A contact tank is suggested that allows for 4 minutes of contact time versus 20-30 minutes suggested for chlorine to complete the same task. Like UV light, it does not produce harmful DPBs unless bromite is present in the water. Also, ozone quickly becomes oxygen, and leaves no residues behind. Post treatment is recommended to remove any suspended metals after the ozone injection. Maintenance for corona discharge systems would be the annual cleaning (wiping down) the CD cell. If an oxygen concentrator is used, then the filters may need to be cleaned or replaced as needed. Owing to its environmental-friendly benefits, ozone is widely used for wastewater treatment, too. It is used for removing organic chemicals, colors, and odor-causing contaminants in the water. In some applications, ozone is combined with other types of oxidation processes to speed up the process of ozonation.
- Ionization: Ionization can utilize different alloys and is mostly used for swimming pools. It is also used for poultry, cooling towers, irrigation, and other commercial applications. Copper-silver ionization is one of the important types of water disinfection techniques used today. The copper-silver ions are produced by ionizers. Like UV rays, copper-silver ions are known to mutate the DNA structure of microbes that they attack. The maintenance required on an ionization system would relate to the replacement of the sacrificial electrode every other year on average. Owing to their proven effectiveness, ionizers have become the most preferred pool sanitation systems.
The choice of the right sanitation system will entirely depend on your application requirements. Intec offers many options to address sanitation needs for homes, pools, business, and agricultural applications. We provide filters, ozonation systems, U/V lights, and chemical injection systems to our clients. Each of these systems has their own benefits, which can be made best use depending on your application. Speak with a consultant regarding your concern and Intec can give you the details and which technology would work best for you.