Ozone Water Treatment. Is it Just a Fad?
Ozone is natural as oxygen, and naturally occurring. Ozone has been around since the beginning of time. Also called tri-atomic oxygen, ozone is a molecule consisting of three atoms of oxygen, formed when oxygen molecules are broken apart and rejoined again. The “ozone layer” in the stratosphere that seems to have an ever widening hole over Antarctica is a 6 mile thick layer of tri-atomic oxygen.
Harnessing the power of the ozone molecule to sanitize water, killing pathogens and microcontaminants, is nothing short of miraculous. Also used as air purifiers in doctors offices and yoga studios. Maybe we can use it to power automobiles one day
The ozone molecule is indeed a very powerful oxidizer and sanitizer, one of the most powerful on earth. It destroys anything it comes in contact with, faster and more effectively than anything else available. And when the sanitation is complete, or if ozone finds nothing to oxidize, it returns to molecular oxygen (2 oxygen atoms). After the killing is done, ozone created in ozonators reverts back to regular good ‘ol oxygen, O2.
Ozone is produced in the stratosphere by two methods. UV radiation from the sun will break apart molecular oxygen into individual nascent oxygen atoms. These atoms quickly attach themselves to the first molecule they encounter. When they join with an oxygen molecule, tri-atomic oxygen (ozone) is born. Another way in which ozone is created is through Lightning, which is a corona discharge, occurring in the stratosphere. The electricity breaks apart the molecules and rejoins them in the same manner as UV radiation. You can smell ozone in the air after a thunderstorm.
Ozone is produced for swimming pool water in these two methods. In the UV method, air is passed over a UV bulb, and the radiation creates nascent oxygen and then ozone. The molecules are then introduced into the water where they can do their stuff. In the corona discharge method, a small lightning storm is created in an air filled chamber. Tiny lighting bolts (not visible, but it would be cool if they were) inside of a sealed unit creates the O3, which is diffused into the water by an injection fitting or manifold.
Ozone is indeed a powerful sanitizer, but it is a gas, and somewhat limited in this regard. It is not marketed as a stand alone technology simply because of the production required to have ozone molecules visit every square inch of your pool before it is changed into something other than ozone. In other words, we still have problems with the short life span of ozone, and the distribution of it. Methods of introduction and greater efficacy levels have been seen in recent years. But still, ozone is really more effective in spas, due to the smaller body of water, and ozone is also not very effective on algae, so a bottled algaecide or Potassium Tetraborate is necessary for those trying to be chlorine free.
The combination of ozone units and nature2 units have a great natural synergy in my opinion. For small clean pools with a DE filter, you can run with small ozone and nature2 units and very little or no chlorine. Together, Nature2 and Ozone are a powerful combination.
Ozone will continue to grab market share for pools, and it certainly has dominated the spa market. It gives water a better smell, taste and clarity than chlorine alone, and because it produces no byproducts, it doesn’t contribute to TDS. Ozone removes certain dissolved metals and rids the pool of soaps, scum, oils and chloramines. It also has synergy with halogens, meaning that when combined, they work even better on certain micro contaminants. Plus – you’re creating more oxygen for the environment, while oxygenating your pool water.