UV And Ozone Systems

Ozone is created when concentrated oxygen is exposed to a corona discharge in which dried air passes through high-voltage electrical energy, or a 185-nm wavelength UV light is used. “Typically, ozone generators from corona discharge are going to be able to produce a higher yield of ozone gas than those that are using a UV light system,” says Marc DeBrum, sales engineer with ClearWater Tech LLC, a manufacturer of commercial ozone generators.

Oxygen (O2) is split, forming two oxygen molecules (O). These molecules then attach to an O2 to form O3, or ozone. The third oxygen molecule is held only by a weak bond, and will readily attach itself to anything–including cryptosporidium. The released oxygen molecules then oxidize and destroy the tough shell of the oocyst, making it unable to replicate.

“The ozone is dissolved in the water, and when it comes in contact with organic or inorganic material, the ozone breaks down the cell walls of the organism and destroys or inactivates the organism,” says DeBrum.

The ozone system works by a portion of the water flow being diverted, injected with ozone, and retained in a contact vessel for a set period of time to allow for the ozone to oxidize and inactivate the contaminants. To determine the dosage rate, DeBrum calculates the maximum bather load, the size of the pool in gallons and the amount of time required to fully recycle the water once.

“Ozone is much more effective and one-and-a-half times faster-acting than chlorine is in oxidizing and inactivating cryptosporidium,” says DeBrum. “Chlorine sanitation systems have a problem with inactivating cryptosporidium because of the high CT value required of the chlorine to produce a significant log reduction of the cryptosporidium.” The CT value is the concentration of the sanitizer multiplied by the time it needs to be in contact with the water to disinfect it.

“An important factor to look for in a system is the gas transfer and mixture of the ozone gas into the water,” says DeBrum. “Ozone has different levels of concentration, and the higher concentration of ozone gas in the water the better.”

To achieve a higher concentration and yield of ozone, it is essential to properly prepare the air entering the ozone generator. Dry air systems can deliver 20 percent ambient oxygen, whereas an oxygen concentrator can filter out the moisture and nitrogen to deliver up to 95 percent pure oxygen to the generator. The higher the concentration of oxygen entering the ozone generator, the higher the yield and concentration of ozone produced.

Reduce Chloramines

Bathers commonly complain of red, itchy eyes, itchy skin and that not-so-appealing smell of chlorine, all of which can be attributed to chloramines. “Chloramines are a carcinogenic byproduct of chlorine sanitation, and for health and safety factors you need to get rid of them,” says DeBrum.

UV and ozone systems both oxidize the chloramines, improving water quality and clarity as well as air quality within an indoor facility.

Recreational Water Illness (RWI)

Selecting a UV or ozone system is dependent upon the facility, budget and space restrictions. However, industry leaders advise that facilities need to provide better protection for their patrons, or risk facing class-action lawsuits when outbreaks of recreational water illness occur.

Tammy York is president of LandShark Communications LLC in Greater Cincinnati. She left her state public relations position to pursue her passion for outdoor recreation and marketing. Her upcoming book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Cincinnati, is due out in spring 2009. You may reach her at landsharkpr@yahoo.com

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