Aquatic industry news from WTI

How UV Sanitation Systems Provide Superior Water Quality

How Does UV Sanitation Work?
Ultraviolet light (UV) is a small portion of the wavelength of sunlight which causes sunburns, the reason why dermatologists remind us to wear our sunblock. This ultraviolet light can also be harnessed for good instead of evil; UV Sanitation water treatment systems contain lamps that generate this wavelength of light to treat water while limiting the need for excessive chemicals. When the swimming pool water passes through the treatment chamber, high-intensity ultraviolet light rays alter or disrupt the DNA or RNA of targeted organisms such as algae, bacteria, cysts, protozoa, and viruses. After the DNA is disrupted the microorganisms are unable to replicate or cause infection. Beyond disinfection, Ultraviolet light also neutralizes organic and inorganic molecules like chlorine, and help eliminate a range of odor-causing and dangerous compounds from water. It has been said that “sunlight is the best form of disinfectant,” and in the case of water sanitation this has proved to be true.

Over the past 5 years, states and health departments have been more educated on cryptosporidium outbreaks and the growing concerns of chloramines on air quality. As a result, a growing number of states have adopted best practices from the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) and similar health codes to ensure safer facilities. Medium pressure UV with a proven and validated performance reduces an outbreak by 99.9% and reduction of chloramines greatly improves the respiratory and dermal experience for patrons and staff. - Brian Randisi, Regional Sales Director, Evoqua Water Technologies LLC

Challenges Operators Face

Pool operators have struggled to keep their pool water free of dangerous chlorine-resistant microorganisms like cryptosporidium and giardia which cause painful vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. Thankfully, these chemically-resistant microorganisms are especially vulnerable to UV light achieving a 99.9% kill rate. In addition to having a high kill rate for harmful microorganisms, this wavelength of light also destroys organic matter, eliminating the formation of dangerous chlorine by-products commonly known as chloramines. When swimmers neglect to shower, their sweat and body oils, chemically combine with the chlorine in the pool to form chloramines; these chloramines are an enemy of indoor pool operators everywhere and are the main culprit behind the dreaded “swimming pool smell.”

While this pool smell is the most obvious problem, the CDC and health researchers have identified numerous health risks from pools with excessive chloramines including, itchy skin, eye irritation, chronic headaches, and asthma for those with regular exposure. In addition to being a health risk, chloramines also damage the structure of aquatic facilities though corrosive condensation, degrading structural steel, roof supports, furniture, poolside equipment, and ventilation ducts.

Advancements in UV Sanitation System

While UV Sanitation systems have been used in aquatics for over 20 years, recently there have been significant advancements in this technology. The newest UV Sanitation systems take up 1/3 of the space of older models, allowing a smaller mechanical room footprint. Another advancement in new UV Sanitation is reduced power consumption by intelligently adjusting bather loads based on demand and pool operating schedules.

When operators consider secondary sanitation systems, UV remains the de facto best option when considering the physical space requirements, the upkeep costs, and the ability to manage both chloramines and chemically-resistant microorganisms.

Water Technology, Inc. has over thirty-five years of experience in aquatic design and engineering in the commercial, waterpark, community recreation and competitive swimming markets. WTI's superior knowledge and expertise on sanitation systems has helped in designing aquatic environments with clean water, and fresh air that often surpass government-required health codes and safety standards.