The Practical Use of Ozone for the Well Water Application

There are more applications for ozone in the water and air
treatment industry than we have space here to discuss. For brevity I?ll
only mention the topics (see Table 1). For this article, we?ll discuss
the well ozone water treatment application. Each application is a potential
business in itself, which means greater revenue and profit. All that is
necessary from you is the motivation to boldly go where you have not gone
before.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Iron, sulfur and manganese are the easiest water problems to
eliminate when using an ozone system. This is made possible by the oxidation
power of ozone. The ozone oxidation process takes place by sizing the system
properly based on the amount of iron, sulfur and manganese, the gallons per
minute (gpm) recovery rate of the well pump and the gallons per day (gpd)
usage. There are other factors to consider but below are the Big Three.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

? Which
contaminants are in the water?

? What
is the flow rate?

? How
much water is being used?

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

To understand how ozone accomplishes this task, you must
first understand what oxidation means. Oxidation means to change the form by
combining with or adding oxygen and to increase the valence of an element by
the loss of electrons. Valence is the combining power of an atom as shown by
the number of its electrons that are lost, gained or shared in the formation of
chemical bonds.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone kills bacteria by oxidizing the organic material in
bacterial membranes, which weakens the cell wall and leads to cellular rupture.
This exposes the organism to the external environment, which causes almost
immediate death of the cell. The process is similar to being cut open by a
knife.

In Technical Terms...

Iron/iron bacteria.
Soluble divalent ferrous iron is oxidized rapidly to trivalent ferric iron,
which hydrolyzes and precipitates as ferric hydroxide. This insoluble form of
iron then absorbs some polar organics in the coagulation process and can be
removed easily with filtration.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Sulfur/sulfur bacteria.
Odorous hydrogen sulfide, which is not filterable, is converted quickly into
elemental sulfur, which is filtered easily. A portion of the sulfur is
de-volatized and off-gassed. The iron or sulfur bacteria is killed (as
described above) quite rapidly (if enough ozone is injected) then removed via
filtration.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Manganese. Manganese
is oxidized and filtered in the same manner as iron and/or sulfur.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone and System Properties

The following is a brief description of what ozone gas is,
how it is made and what other parts are needed to make up an ozone system.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone is produced when air is passed over a high voltage
electrical field such as lightning or a spark from a spark plug. You also can
produce ozone by passing air between the lamp and the quartz sleeve of some UV
lights. Ozone is a more active form of oxygen made of three atoms instead of
two. The symbol for oxygen is O2, whereas the symbol for ozone is O3.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Lightning is nature?s ozone generator. Every time you
see lightning you are witnessing the generation of ozone on a massive scale. If
you have ever noticed a clean/different smell after a lightning storm, then you
have smelled ozone.

The feed gas can be air or dry air. Air is the least costly
method but produces the lowest concentration of ozone and possibly increased
service. This is due to the combination of ozone and moisture/ humidity. There
are some ozone generators on the market that only are slightly affected by the
moisture. They are able to withstand moisture in the feed air/gas for years
without any detrimental affects, while others can require constant cleaning and
can suffer severe damage.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Air Dryers are options that reduce the maintenance of the
ozone equipment. Air Dryers remove all of the humidity and moisture from the
air prior to the ozonator. The air is dried to a minimum of -40° F dew
point (absolutely dry/no moisture). Dry air increases ozone production compared
to atmospheric/moist air.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

The ozone must be injected into the water after it is
produced. The following two methods are most commonly used.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

? Ozone
pump is a positive displacement injector that pumps the ozone gas into the
water similar to a chemical feed pump for chlorine. There is no restriction of
flow or pressure and it achieves the greatest volume of ozone injection. This
factor is important when dealing with iron and sulfur at more than 3 parts per
million (ppm).

? Venturi
is a device that restricts flow and pressure in order to produce a vacuum. This
vacuum device uses suction to pull the ozone gas into the water. The exact gpm
flow rate and operating recovery pressure must be established before selecting
the correct venturi. Improper sizing will result in insufficient ozone suction,
which will cause insufficient oxidation resulting in carryover of what
you?re trying to remove. (Important note: you cannot remove iron, sulfur
or manganese that is not oxidized.) Booster pumps are used to increase the
pressure prior to the venturi, thus, increasing effectiveness. The disadvantage
of the booster pump is the increased cost, increased electrical consumption and
noise.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

The Ozone Process

Notice that throughout the article the term ?ozone
system? and not just ?ozone? is used. The reason is that
ozone is merely a gas that accomplishes the oxidation process. Oxidation is the
first step of three that must be followed in order to be successful.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

The ozone process works in three simple steps.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

? Ozone
injection/oxidation. Ozone is triatomic
oxygen (O3) that has very high oxidizing power. It is a gas produced from air
and high voltage electricity. The injection of the ozone into the water
produces tiny ozone bubbles, which saturate every drop of water. At this point
oxidation of iron, sulphur and manganese is immediate. (See Figure 1.)

? Aeration. The elimination (off gassing or venting) of the
ozone and other gases/odors such as sulfur is known as aeration. This occurs by
an ozone stripping action. As water flows down the off gas tank, ozonated water
rises and strips any gas in the incoming water. There are two types of venting
devices on the market. Electric self-cleaning types and float types that only
release gas. The float types tend to require more maintenance than the electric
type. (See Figure 2.)

? Filtration. The final step for removing the oxidized material
is filtration. There are several media on the market. The idea is to use a
medium that has low water waste (backwash), high service flow and high removal
capacity and requires no chemicals during regeneration. Mechanical filtration
is all that is necessary, and Birm, Greensand, and Centaur typically are not
necessary. (See Figure 3.)

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone Systems vs. Chlorination Systems

The ozone process is very similar to the chlorination
process except ozone greatly accelerates contaminant removal. Unlike
chlorination systems, ozone equipment requires very little space and no ongoing
chemical costs. The main advantage for the consumer using ozone over chlorine
is the absence of hazardous chlorine byproducts, storage of hazardous
chemicals, absence of chemical odors and the lack of constant replenishment of
the chlorine feeder. Trying to oxidize/kill iron bacteria, sulfur bacteria or
manganese (as well as any microorganisms) with chlorine is difficult and requires
extreme amounts of free chlorine. This leads to dramatically increased ongoing
costs as well as a highly toxic water value.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone Systems vs. Air Injection Systems

Air injection is fraught with difficulties. While it is an
inexpensive treatment method, it cannot be used on high iron and sulfur amounts
and when iron or sulfur bacteria is present. Iron and sulfur bacteria will grow
in the presence of air. This leads to pipe, media and equipment clogging.
Manganese is more difficult and far more resistant to air oxidation.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Safety is another issue. How can you determine that the air
you?re injecting into your customers? water is safe? You cannot
when using a simple air injector system. Anything in the air (dust, dirt, mold,
bacteria, odors, etc.) around the injector will be suctioned or pumped into the
water. Ozone is a sterilizer, and it will kill any airborne microbes prior to
being injected into the water.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

The main advantage for the dealer when using an ozone system
is the reduced service calls, complete and immediate oxidation, complete and
immediate removal of the iron, sulfur and manganese and increased
profitability.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone systems show the highest profit of all the iron,
sulfur and manganese removal systems on the market. Most ozone dealers more
than double their cost when selling ozone systems. The typical ozone system
cost starts at $900 to the dealer. This system will remove up to 5 ppm iron,
sulfur and manganese. Some ozone systems are of a simple technology that is
easy to understand, size, install and service. However, some ozone systems are
more complicated and require more maintenance and service necessary for home
use. The main idea is that ozone systems vary between manufacturers in size,
price, design, performance and required maintenance. Pick the one best suited
for the application and to your understanding and abilities.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

To review the overall process ... ozone creates larger
particles of iron, sulfur and manganese by means of oxidation. The larger
particles become insoluble (separated from the water) and are filtered. Off
gassing releases the excess ozone, air and odors. Filtration is the last step
necessary for removing the oxidized particles. Without proper filtration, the
entire system?s performance will be compromised. Many manufacturers and
dealers put too much emphasis on the ozone equipment and disregard normal,
tried-and-true water treatment principles. This can lead to poor performance
immediately or in the future for which the equipment sometimes is blamed.

[if !supportEmptyParas] [endif]

Ozone is the most powerful, natural oxidizer and
disinfectant of practical use known to us. It is easy and safe to use and can
be applied by simply using existing water treatment equipment and technology.
There are manufacturers of ozone water treatment equipment that have been
successful for more than 20 years. Search them out, test their knowledge and
equipment and don?t miss out on adding a whole new profit potential you
may have before never realized.

Roger Nathanson is president of Ozone Pure Water, Inc., Sarasota, Fla. Ozone Pure Water has been a full service ozone/water treatment supplier since 1980. Nathanson heads the system design, system allocation and R&D departments. His background includes mechanical engineering, plumbing/pipe fitting, swimming pool remodeling/repair, sales and marketing. He holds a U.S. patent on a proprietary ozone unit/ozone generator design. Nathanson can be contacted at 800-633-8469 or 941-923-8528; fax 941-923-8231; opw01@acun.com; www.ozonepurewater.com.

Leave A Comment

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.