Although ozone and chlorine share similar disinfectant properties for purifying drinking water, ozone systems are not widely used in many parts of the world. In contrast, chlorine remains the preferred disinfectant in all regions of the globe. Nevertheless, ozone’s popularity is growing due to its reliability, ease of use, and safety in operation. Ozone has several advantages over traditional disinfection methods, including high oxidation potential, exceptional disinfection efficacy, faster processing time, and no harmful by-products.

Basics of Ozone and Chlorine Dioxide

While chlorine can effectively eliminate most bacteria in water, it is not effective against Cryptosporidium. The process of chlorination can also take a long time and is hazardous due to the formation of trihalomethanes (THMs), which are known to be carcinogenic. In contrast, ozonization is highly effective at neutralizing bacteria and viruses, and it works within seconds, making it 3,000 times faster than chlorination. Moreover, ozonization can eliminate Cryptosporidium, which is resistant to chlorine. Lastly, ozonization does not leave any harmful by-products as ozone quickly reverts into pure oxygen.

Ozone: Stronger or Weaker?

Compared to chlorine dioxide, ozone has a higher oxidation potential, giving it a superior ability to break down organic compounds and other contaminants in water. Additionally, ozone reacts faster than chlorine dioxide. The standard oxidation potential of ozone is 2.07 volts, while that of chlorine dioxide is 1.5 volts. Consequently, ozone has a greater capacity to oxidize and break down impurities in water than chlorine dioxide.


Dangers from the Use of Chlorine


When chlorine is used as a disinfectant for drinking water, it can leave behind chemical residues that may pose health risks if ingested. These residues are known as disinfection by-products (DBPs), which form when chlorine reacts with organic matter. The two most common DBPs found in chlorinated drinking water are trihalomethanes (THMs) and Haloacetic acids (HAAs). Studies have linked DBPs to cancer, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified the main DBPs as potential human carcinogens. Exposure to DBPs over time may lead to health concerns, and recent research has linked the accumulation of chlorine compounds in breast tissue to an increased risk of breast cancer. In a study conducted in Hartford, Connecticut, it was found that women with breast cancer had 50 to 60% higher levels of chlorination by-products compared to women without breast cancer.

Potential Risks

Chlorine poses potential dangers due to the chemical residue it leaves in treated water, which can be harmful if ingested. Furthermore, it often imparts a chemical taste to the water, and there is evidence suggesting that it may increase the risk of cancer in people who drink chlorinated water. Chemical water treatment can also damage equipment and leave chemical residues in the environment. In contrast, ozonation produces clean water without any chemical residues when safely implemented. Ozone is also effective at removing residual byproducts left from the chlorination process. Moreover, while chlorination may not be as effective in water bodies with a high alkaline pH, ozonation remains equally effective across the entire pH spectrum without altering the water’s pH level.


Ozonation: Safe and Effective for Water Treatment

Ozonation is a method of treating water that involves dissolving ozone in water to purify and disinfect it. An ozone generator is used to convert oxygen into ozone through high-voltage electrical discharge. The generated ozone gas is then dissolved into the water that needs to be treated. The ozone reacts with the organic compounds and other contaminants present in the water, causing them to break down into simpler and less harmful molecules.

Ozonation is a versatile water treatment method suitable for various applications such as purifying drinking water, treating wastewater, and sanitizing swimming pools. It is an effective means of removing a broad range of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, pesticides, and pharmaceuticals. Unlike chlorine, ozone gas does not produce any hazardous byproducts and rapidly decomposes into oxygen gas, leaving no chemical residue in the water. Moreover, ozonation has a milder taste and odor than chlorine, which often imparts an unpleasant and strong chemical taste to water.

Ozone for Disinfecting Drinking Water

Ozone is a highly effective water treatment solution due to its oxidizing and disinfecting properties. Unlike chlorine, ozone can disintegrate bacterial cell walls and is effective against waterborne pathogens. Ozone also has a rapid decay rate and quickly reverts to oxygen, eliminating the need for chemical storage. It can be generated on-site and works over a wide pH range without forming disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Additionally, ozone reacts with natural organic matter (NOM), unlike chlorine. Ozonation is the most effective chemical disinfectant against Cryptosporidium compared to other oxidizing biocides. Both ozone and chlorine are effective at removing bacteria and viruses and controlling biofilm growth. Ozone’s oxidizing properties can also reduce the concentration of iron, manganese, sulfur, and eliminate taste and odor problems. However, ozone has much lower CT values than chlorine, making it more effective in water treatment.


Ozone: Safer for Swimming Pools

Ozone is a safer alternative to chlorine for pool disinfection due to several reasons. Firstly, unlike chlorine, ozone does not produce harmful by-products such as chloramines and trihalomethanes, which pose risks to human health. Secondly, ozone is less likely to cause skin and eye irritation compared to chlorine. Finally, ozone has not been associated with respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.

Benefits of Using Ozone in Stead of Chlorine

  • When it comes to destroying viruses and bacteria, ozone has been found to be more effective than chlorine.
  • The ozonation process involves a brief period of contact time.
  • Ozone decomposes rapidly, leaving no harmful residuals.
  • With the exception of microorganisms shielded by the particulates in the wastewater stream, there is no re-growth of microorganisms following ozonation.
  • The process of ozonation increases the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the treated water.
  • Ozone cannot be overdosed during water treatment as any unused ozone automatically dissipates from the water and reverts back to oxygen, posing no risk of residual ozone.
  • The high reactivity and corrosiveness of ozone necessitate the use of materials that are resistant to corrosion, such as Teflon or stainless steel.