If you are concerned about the quality of the water used at your business or residence, then purchasing one of the several types of UV water sanitizers may be what you need. This system will help eliminate water-born mold and germs from your water system that may otherwise be missed at your local filtration plant.
Using Ultraviolet Light as a Water Sanitizer
Technically, ultraviolet light or UV energy is electromagnet radiation received by Earth from the sun. In instances such as disinfectant systems, UV light is artificially created with low-pressure, mercury vapor lamps placed inside of the water chamber (the lamp never touches water). In large doses, the radiation will sanitize water, making it cleaner to drink, cook with or bathe. Shortwave UV lights, also called germicidal ultraviolet, are used inside specially designed water systems. They help disinfect surface water by eliminating:
- Mold spores
However, this type of disinfectant is nothing new. According to the National Drinking Water Clearinghouse, using UV light for drinking water sanitation in the United States dates back to 1916. However, the process has been improved and streamlined over the years as the cost of UV lights has decreased. While this system is common at water filtration plants across the country, only a handful of states regulate the sale of UV lights for drinking water sanitation in homes:
- New York
Where UV Water Sanitizers are Needed
There are currently five areas where UV light disinfection is needed and used:
- Well water: Water from private wells can contain harmful pathogens, which are not only dangerous to humans, but animals as well. Livestock producers often install UV light sanitation systems to protect their animals from the poor water quality.
- Surface water: In rural communities, many families and businesses draw their water from streams, lakes or rivers. These are highly contaminated from the animals that use and live in the water, as well as from storm run-off. A UV water system will help lower the amount of contaminated water ingested by residents and animals.
- Public water supplies: Concerns about high levels of chlorine in the public water supplies have prompted residents to protect the water that is used in their homes.
- Commercial water: Because businesses such as restaurants, campgrounds and hotels are required to provide suitable water for their guests, many already have UV water sanitizers in place.
- Process water for industry: Since laboratories require their water to be of extremely high quality, they have taken advantage of having these systems on site.
Pros and Cons
There are many advantages and disadvantages to using UV light instead of chemicals as a disinfectant. Advantages include:
- No known toxic byproducts
- No danger of overdosing
- Doesn't have any toxic air emissions
- No on-site smell
- Doesn't require storage of hazardous materials
- No odor in final product
- Doesn't affect the water's minerals
- Little impact on the environment (except for disposal of lamps)
While there are many pros to using this type of system, there are also a few disadvantages:
- No disinfection residual
- Not suitable for water with high levels of soluble organic matter
- No standardized measures are in place to certify how well equipment works before or after installation
- Water characteristics such as hardness, nitrates, sulfates and iron may affect the performance of the UV light
Unfortunately, limited data is available that outlines the possible byproducts or side affects of UV disinfection.