What methods of disinfecting water are there?

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Courtesy of NW Solutions

The aim behind disinfecting water is to make it safe to drink. As the water experts, NW Solutions will look at some of the different methods to disinfect water and their advantages and disadvantages.

To be considered for this list, the disinfectant must:

  • Destroy all types of pathogens, regardless of volume, present in the water
  • Not make the water toxic or render it unpalatable
  • Function regardless of fluctuations in temperature or condition of water
  • Be safe and easy to handle

Boiling

Boiling water is the first method of disinfecting that people think of. It is effective at destroying bacteria and other pathogens but it cannot safeguard against other contaminants. Boiling is also ineffective with larger amounts of water, such as in a tank, as it requires specialised equipment to ensure that the full tank is properly treated. Boiling water cannot remove physical contaminants such as sediment. For this reason, boiling is only really efficient for small amounts of water.

Ultraviolet light (UV light)

UV light can destroy bacteria and harmful microbes. It works by scrambling the DNA of the organisms, causing them to be unable to reproduce and die. It is an effective method of treating large amounts of water, as UV filters can be installed in tanks. A drawback of using UV is that it must be combined with other filtration methods to ensure that sediment and other physical contaminants don’t get through. Another drawback is that UV light systems have been known to fail and allow the spread of bacterium such as Legionella.

Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine Dioxide is a water treatment that is rated by the World Health Organisation as one of the most powerful water sanitisers in the world. Despite the name, Chlorine Dioxide doesn’t contain Chlorine and is much safer and non-corrosive as a treatment option. It helps break down biofilm in tanks and the correct treatment amount is easy to calculate by volume of water.

Of the methods listed, Chlorine Dioxide is the most effective. It can disinfect the largest amount of water safely, without specialist equipment and can easily be scaled up and down depending on the volume of water.

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