Residential System Treatment for Water
Because water quality cannot be taken for granted, individual residential treatment for drinking water has become commonplace. Different types of home treatment systems have variables that limit effectiveness. When choosing a purification system, it is important to understand the process of specific applications and the residual effect on health.
Automatic chlorinators are used in residential water systems to kill bacteria and microorganisms. Chlorination systems use an automated metering pump to inject chlorine into home water grids in the same manner as commercial municipal chlorine systems, but on a smaller scale. These systems are ideal for homes using well water or a spring water source. Chlorine disinfects the entire domestic piping from source to tap. A charcoal carbon filter is useful to remove the chlorine just before point of use at the tap. According to The National AG safety database, the disadvantage is that chlorine will not protect against giardia or cryptosporidium viruses.
Electrically operated ozone generators use an electro-chemical process of ultraviolet irradiation of dry air or oxygen to create ozone for water disinfection. According to Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities, ozone is effective over a wide pH level and temperature range. While chlorine requires more time to disinfect, ozone treatment is almost immediate. A benefit of ozone systems is lack of THM, trihalomethane, a potentially harmful by-product of chlorine use. Ozone is a more lethal disinfectant and virus-killer than chlorine, although pre-filtering for large amoebic cysts is recommended.
Ultraviolet Light Systems
Ultraviolet water treatment systems kill bacteria and microorganisms by exposing them to ultraviolet light in the spectrum range between visible and X-ray light. Ultraviolet systems do not add chemicals to the water. According to Water Research website, UV systems will not remove giardia or cryptosporidium from the water. If the water exposed to the disinfecting light is turbid or contains solids that can shield unwanted microorganisms, bacteria can survive and pass through the system. Because there are no chemical additives, the downstream portion of the system has no residual protection from bacteria being re-established. Light bulbs used in these systems loose effectiveness over time and internal debris can build up, affecting light transmission and disinfecting ability.
Reverse Osmosis Systems
Boulder, Colorado's website states that RO, or reverse osmosis, systems are excellent at removing nitrates, heavy metals, sodium, sulfates and other microbes and bacteria from drinking water. A reverse osmosis system consists of a carbon pre-filter, a semi-permeable membrane, a product water storage tank and a post filter. The system works by pressurizing water on one side of a semi-permeable membrane allowing pure water molecules through, while bacteria, contaminants, microorganisms and other solids are flushed out the other side. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, RO systems provide protection against cryptosporidium and giardia protozoa as well as campylobacter, salmonella bacteria and viruses such as hepatitis A.
It's important to have your water tested by a certified laboratory regularly while using any of these systems. Always maintain your system as specified and do not accept water quality tests by product merchandisers.
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