After water falls as rain, it picks up various contaminants that it comes into contact with, and that includes bacteria and other microorganisms that can be harmful to our health. Waterborne diseases caused by the presence of bacteria cause untold misery around the world, and the consequences in developing nations are often fatal. But, even in America, there are health risks to consider, and relying on public water treatment is a bad idea. Why? Even though public water is disinfected to a basic standard, there can be breaks in the water delivery network, human errors, and other factors to consider. In this article, we will take a closer look at bacteria and how you can remove it from your drinking water at home.

Which Bacteria are found in Drinking Water?

All water sources can be a home to a wide variety of microorganisms, including protozoa like cryptosporidium and giardia and bacteria like salmonella, shigella, E. coli, coliforms, and more. Water can contain viruses, like the norovirus and rotavirus, and many other contaminants because water acts as a universal solvent. So, it’s not uncommon to find organic matter, dissolved salts, mineral content, and even heavy metals in drinking water.

What is the Best Way to Remove Bacteria?

The two best water treatment systems that remove bacteria are:

Ultraviolet (UV) Light

This is a popular and reliable option, the UV-C light wavelength disrupts the DNA of microorganisms present in the water, and this prevents them from reproducing. Minimal maintenance is required, no chemicals are added to the water, and virtually all microorganisms are rendered harmless. The UV lamp is kept separate from the water by a quartz sleeve, and the germicidal properties are fueled by small mercury balls inside the lamp.  A single UV lamp will work for around a year (9,000 hours) before a replacement is required.

Ozone Treatment

This is a powerful water treatment method that will destroy bacteria and viruses quickly. The ozone penetrates the cellular walls of the microorganisms to tear them apart on the structural level, which kills them. This is an ideal treatment for private wells because there is no need for extended contact time, and the flow rate is not impaired. Ozone can also eliminate micro-pollutants such as herbicides and pesticides, and inorganic matter. An ozone generator dissolves in the water at 3-5 ppm to create O3 molecules in the water supply. Ozone treatment is superior to chlorination, but it is unstable, and it will break down in around 30 minutes. So, it’s not a viable option for large scale public water use, and its use will always be limited to private homes.

What about Reverse Osmosis (RO)?

The RO filtration process can remove bacteria, but the manufacturers don’t make those claims, and they should not be relied on for this purpose. Over time, the bacteria can create tiny tears in the filter membrane pores, and this will lower the efficacy. A RO filter is a great filtration system to remove many types of contaminants. But, it’s best used in series with a UV purification or ozone treatment to remove harmful bacteria.

If you want to improve your water quality at home, contact your local water treatment specialist today.

By EcoWater Systems.
EcoWater Systems of Nebraska is the largest water treatment company in the state and is a member of Water Quality Association.