Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ozone Disinfection

Ozone has been used for disinfection for over a century in Europe and extensively in the US for the last 40 years.  Applications for ozone disinfection include public drinking water systems, bottled water production, pharmaceutical plants, industrial processes, municipal wastewater among many others.

The benefits of ozone for water disinfection are many fold:

  • ozone is a broad spectrum biocide that kills a wide variety of organisms
  • ozone tends to act faster and lower doses than other agents such as chlorine
  • ozone is less likely to form harmful disinfection byproducts
  • ozone works at a broader range of pH levels
  • ozone is produced on site and does not require the purchase, storage or handling of chemicals
  • ozone provides ancillary benefits to the water such as color, taste and odor removal

To illustrate ozone’s effectiveness the following table shows the CT value for ozone versus other disinfecting agents for 3 log reduction of Giardia, a difficult to kill organism, and 4 log reduction of virus at 5 degrees C (41 degrees F).  CT is a measure of the concentration of disinfectant (C) and the time (T) required for achieving the removal of the organisms at the levels noted above.  So, a lower CT value means faster action, lower dose of disinfectant or both.


Ozone is also effective against cryptosporidium and is one of the methods approved by the EPA for this organism.

Currently, over 13 billion gallons per day of public drinking water is treated with ozone.  The vast majority of bottled water producers add ozone just prior to bottling to provide additional disinfection for both the water and the bottle.  Many pharmaceutical, food and beverage plants add ozone to various parts of their processes for disinfection.

To learn more about ozone disinfection for drinking water treatment:

Post is part of the efforts of the Water Research Center and Carbon County Groundwater Guardians to education private well owners and water suppliers in our area. If you need any further information, please visit our Drinking Water Helpguide PageWater Quality Library, or search our site.

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