UV purification systems achieve a higher level of water disinfection, providing a safe solution against chlorine-resistant microorganisms such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of UV disinfection:

Benefits of UV disinfection

Water treatment by UV disinfection has many advantages:

  • This is a non-chemical treatment: no harmful chemicals need to be added.
  • It is easy to install and maintain.
  • It is economical and energy efficient: low electrical needs
  • It is effective on a wide range of pathogens, including those resistant to chlorination (certain protozoa such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia).
  • It is recognized by regulatory agencies, including the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA).
  • Effective – Destroys 99.99% of microorganisms
  • It is an ecological technology. UV contains no disinfection by-products
  • Reliable – works day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,
  • Safe for users – no chemical handling.
  • Cost effective – only the lamp and sleeve are replaced each year.
  • Compact and fast treatment – water flows through the system without the need for a holding tank or reaction time.
  • More effective than chlorine or chloramines
  • Technology approved by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration in the USA) and ÖNORM in Europe
  • Conserves water – The UV purification process does not waste water.
  • Taste and odor – Chemical disinfection methods (such as chlorine) change the taste and odor of water and produce by-products. This is not the case with UV.

Disadvantages

Although the initial cost of some UV applications is somewhat higher than chlorination, the low operating costs allow for a quick return on investment. However, this process is not recommended in certain cases:

  • UV light can only eliminate the microorganisms present in the water. UV technology does not remove any other contaminants from the water such as heavy metals, salts, chlorine or artificial substances such as petroleum or pharmaceutical products. Other filtration methods should be used with UV to ensure that all contaminants are removed from the water.
  • UV light can only work if the water is clear. If the water is turbid, a pre-filter should be used
  • UV water systems require electricity to operate. A UV may not be suitable for all applications such as emergency or survival needs if electricity is not available.
  • UV disinfection does not offer the persistence of some other chemicals.

Here are some UV disinfection reactors. Each device is designed for a specific water quality (salt water, swimming pool, industrial treatment…). There is bound to be a model for your application! And if you’re wondering how it works, you can check out the general section on UVC water disinfection as well as the one explaining its operation.

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