Ultraviolet water treatment involves the use of ultraviolet (UV) light to kill bacteria, mold, and fungi in water or sewer systems. UV rays are artificially produced in a lamp and then placed in a flow chamber, which is similar to a tunnel. When the water passes through the chamber, ultraviolet light penetrates it, killing harmful organisms. This process does not require dangerous chemicals, such as chlorine, and generally does not affect the taste or nutritional value of the water.
Ultraviolet water treatment is typically more economical than other methods of disinfecting water. It often requires only UV lamps in order to produce the necessary results. These are typically very energy-efficient and need little maintenance in order to operate properly.
Mercury lamps are often used to produce ultraviolet rays. UV lamps can then be placed in areas that water passes through before being sent to a holding tank or routed to the end user. Most ultraviolet water treatment systems have lamps in flow chambers located near the final stages of water treatment. This is because when water has been partially treated, such as after debris removal, these rays are more effective.
UV rays easily penetrate the water's surface as it flows underneath the lamps. When this happens, the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of most types of bacteria, viruses, fungus, and mold are changed so that they cannot reproduce. This effectively renders these organisms dead, so they can no longer harm humans or animals.
No chemicals are necessary when ultraviolet water treatment is performed. This can often save water treatment facilities a great deal of money, and also give the public peace of mind about chemicals in their drinking water. There is also no need to worry about mutant strains of bacteria building a resistance to certain chemicals, such as chlorine.
Although ultraviolet water treatment is most often performed in public water treatment facilities, it may sometimes be done in sewer plants. Hotels and campgrounds may occasionally have their own UV treatment systems in place, especially if they acquire water from wells or private ponds. In some instances, smaller units can be obtained for household use.
Ultraviolet water treatment does not remove beneficial minerals, such as magnesium and calcium. Most people who drink water treated with UV rays report it is generally very clear and tastes better than water that is chemically treated. This can make using UV rays to treat water a good idea for many people.