The use of Ozone to treat a water supply has been around since the early 20th century, when European scientists used the method to disinfect the already mostly clean spring or well water. Over time, the practice of using ozone to purify surface water supplies became more prevalent. Since the 1940's, Ozone water treatment has been the primary method to purify and disinfect major water supplies in France, Switzerland and parts of Germany. Today, you can find major Ozone water treatment facilities in cities throughout the world.
In the United States, the use of Ozone has been limited because of the chlorination process that has been widely used for many years. However, as the negative effects of chlorination are becoming more and more evident, some cities and municipalities are switching to Ozone water treatment. In the last 30 years, the use of Ozone water purification in the United States has increased so much that many major cities, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston, now use this treatment process.
Ozone occurs naturally in the environment by the sun's ultra violet rays or by lightning during a thunderstorm. It is found in the upper-most layer of the earth's atmosphere and protects us from harmful solar radiation. Molecularly, Ozone is composed of 3 oxygen atoms. The oxygen we breathe is made up of 2. 1 of the 3 oxygen atoms that make up ozone transfers electrons to other substances. These other substances can be the viruses and bacteria found in untreated water. Those single oxygen atoms then bond with the other substance, causing oxidization. This process eradicates the bacteria, viruses and other water-borne pathogens. When the process is complete, the only byproduct that remains is a single oxygen atom.
Ozone water treatment systems purify the water by creating Ozone through a special generator. This generator creates Ozone by using electricity, ultraviolet light and compressed air. The high-intensity UV light turns the oxygen in the compressed air into Ozone. The newly created Ozone is sent into a water supply through a diffusion line, which turns it into bubbles. The impurities in the water are then attacked, oxidized and destroyed by the Ozone bubbles, creating safe and drinkable water.
Much of the bottled water you drink today has been treated with Ozone. Overall, Ozone treatment improves the look, taste and odor of our drinking water. It also prevents hard water problems by stopping scale deposits from forming on pipes. It some studies, Ozone treatment has been shown to destroy legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires' disease. The Ozone treatment process is also used to disinfect wastewater and polluted ground water before it is sent back out into the environment. Because of the power and safety of this treatment process, Ozone is also applied as an anti-microbial agent for the treatment, processing and storage of foods.