The advantages and disadvantages of UV disinfection

They depend on the UV applications used.

In addition, UV purification systems allow for a higher level of water disinfection. This provides a safe solution against chlorine-resistant microorganisms such as :

  • Giardia
  • Cryptosporidium.

Benefits of UV disinfection

Water treatment by UV disinfection has many advantages:

  • It is a non-chemical treatment, meaning that no harmful chemicals need to be added.
  • It is easy to install and maintain.
  • Economical and energy efficient: low power requirements
  • 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).
  • it presents an effective treatment – it 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, in other words, 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.


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 micro-organisms present in the water. In fact, UV technology does not remove any other contaminants from the water such as :
    • heavy metals
    • salts
    • Chlorine
    • artificial substances such as petroleum or pharmaceutical products. In addition, other filtration methods should be used with UV to ensure that all contaminants are removed from the water.
  • If the water is cloudy, a pre-filter should be used. Indeed, UV light can only work if the water is clear.
  • 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…).

So 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 and the one explaining how it works.

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