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What is Ozone and How Does it Work?

Ozone, also referred to as triatomic oxygen, is an unstable gas having life in water of minutes. Oxygen, which is normally bi-atomic, becomes ozone through the addition of a third unstable atom. Ozone, because of its instability, cannot be generated and stored for future use. It must be generated and used for treatment immediately.

Ozone is typically created using one of two methods: Ultraviolet radiation or Corona Discharge. Of the two, corona discharge produces a substantially higher ozone concentration, which makes it more effective for the removal of complex impurities in water and oil. Generated ozone is pumped into the water through a bubble stone, creating very small bubbles which rise slowly through the water. The slower the bubbles rise through the water the greater the amount of ozone transferred to the water. Most critically for water quality, ozonation does not add chemicals to the water, which is not the case when purifying water using chlorine, chlorine dioxide, permanganate, etc. As the ozone passes through the water the third unstable atom detaches, attacks, and destroys impurities in the water. The residue in the water is pure oxygen which quickly dissipates in a few minutes. Any excess dissolved ozone which is not needed for treatment reverts to simple oxygen in approximately 20-30 minutes.

Bacterial Disinfection and Viral Inactivation

The amount of bacteria destruction and viral inactivation is related to the concentration of ozone in the water and the length of time it's in contact with the microorganisms. Bacteria are generally easily and quickly destroyed. E-Coli bacteria are eliminated using ozone concentrations of just over .01 mg/liter and contact times of 15 seconds at temperatures of around 77 to 86 degrees F. * Streptococcus fecalis are much more easily destroyed using ozone concentrations of only about 0.025 mg/liter. 99.99% inactivation is obtained in 20 seconds or less. Viruses are more resistant than bacteria. Polio virus types I, II and III are inactivated by exposure to concentrations of dissolved ozone of 0.4 mg/liter over a four minute contact period.

Oxidation of Inorganics

In the case of iron, manganese and the several arsenite or arsenate compounds, oxidation takes place very rapidly, leaving insoluble compounds which are easily removed by an activated carbon filter. Sulfide ions are oxidized sequentially to sulfate ions, an innocuous substance. The first stage of this oxidation is very rapid, quickly and efficiently removing any sulfurous odors. Nitrite ions are oxidized to nitrate ions, which are stable and innocuous.

Oxidation of Organics - Pesticides, etc.

Ozone if a very powerful agent in treating organic materials. Organics are either natural (humic and fulvic acids) or synthetic (detergents , pesticides) in nature. Some organics react with ozone very rapidly to destruction, within minutes or even seconds (phenol, formic acid), whereas other react more slowly with ozone (humic, fulvic acids, several pesticides, trichloroethane, etc.) In some cases, organic materials are only partially oxidized with ozone. Soaking your meats and produce in Ozone water for 10 to 15 min. can greatly reduce contamination.

Oxygen Reduction Potential (ORP)

The Ozonator is capable of producing a high positive ORP reading of some + 1,000 mV, this is why ozone is able to neutralize bacteria and viruses. When an electron has been stripped away from a particle, it is defined as being "oxidized". When an extra electron is donated to another particle, (such as in the Microwater units) it is defined as being "reduced". This oxidation and reduction process occurs continuously and naturally within the body and is part of maintaining good health. For example, when we are sick or have an infection, the body tends to release an abundance of Free Radical compounds in order to help kill the infection. Drinking ozonated water during these times of need adds extra oxygen to your body and the powerful oxidative action of ozone contributes to inactivating the harmful viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungus and parasites.