Anyone who has ever worked in the food and beverage industry will understand that cleaning and disinfecting commercial kitchens and water lines is critical for keeping customers safe from getting bacterial infections. Chlorine has been used as a common method to disinfect surfaces and clean beverage water lines. But there is another challenger when it comes to disinfection: ozone water or just ozone.
How Does Ozone Work?
Closely related to the oxygen molecule, ozone is a naturally occurring molecule, but it is more reactive. Because of this molecular reactivity, ozone makes a great disinfectant. Ozone is very reactive with impure materials which can end up in the water. This means that any impurities like iron, manganese and other biological pathogens will instantly react with the atoms in the ozone compound. This means that biological matter is instantly neutralized. Once those impurities are separated from water molecules, they are easily removed using a conventional filter. What is left from the ozone molecule then turns back into oxygen and is safe and stable once more.
Chlorine vs Ozone Water Filtration
Chlorine has been the traditional chemical process for water purification for a long time. Let’s compare the two.
Chlorine is the traditional way to process water in the world. Using it only requires a simple process and any average person can sterilize their water with chlorine by adding the right amount of chlorine to the water in liquid or tablet form. Chlorine is effective because it can destroy the cellular structure of almost any bacteria in water and neutralize it with a few exceptions. However, the chlorination process can take long periods of time for it to be effective depending on the volume of water being treated.
In comparison, ozonation is equally effective at neutralizing bacteria or viruses, but it can do this within seconds. Ozone dissolves into the water, making a highly concentrated ozonated water solution. Ozonation can also take care of pathogens that chlorine cannot. If the water can be so easily and thoroughly filtered using ozone, then why isn’t everyone using it?
Ozone has not been understood for a long time because of the chemical industry’s lack of education and lobbying. Plus, while chlorine is transferred in vats, ozone can be more difficult to store, not to mention transported. This means that for ozone to be applied to water treatment facilities, it will need to be made on the spot. This can be done by exposing oxygen to electrical charges, this process is known as electrolytic ozone generation. In comparison with dropping chlorine tablets into a pool of water, the ozonation process is seen as more involved. But this is changing due to the invention and emergence of ozone generators.
These comparisons of chlorine and ozone for use in water purification admit that while ozone’s oxidation and disinfectant ability is impressive, buying and installing the necessary equipment to do so is not as cost-effective as chlorine. However, with the advancing technological innovations, this helps make things more convenient and more affordable in the long term.
Industry water treatment professionals recommend the use of ozone for disinfecting water because it is a powerful oxidizing agent that does not leave any byproducts upon reaction with contaminants. Unlike ozone, when chlorine is used to disinfect drinking water especially water that has encountered decaying organic matter, like leaves or vegetation, from lakes and rivers, it forms disinfection by-products. The most common by-products chlorinated drinking water are Trihalomethanes (THMs) and Halo Acetic acids (HAAs).