commercial and industrial water disinfection systems

UV-C light reactor for water disinfection

Commercial and Industrial Water disinfection systems: Chlorination, UV and ozone

proven and effective water disinfection for Industrial and commercial applications

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The principal health risk from water is waterborne disease by microbial contamination. regulations have emphasized improved microbial controls through multiple-barrier techniques, including filtration for reduction of micro-organisms, disinfection for inactivation of the remaining pathogens, and maintenance of a residual disinfectant in the distribution system.

1. Commercial and industrial water disinfection : Chemical oxidation (chlorine, ozone) and UV treatment

A comprehensive disinfection strategy provides a “multiple barriers” approach to reduce microbial risk while minimizing the formation of undesirable disinfection by-products (DBP).

Chemical oxidation and UV radiation are the most common commercial and industrial water disinfection methods. However both disinfection mechanisms are  fundamentally different with respect to the inactivation process and the response of microorganisms:


 Chemical DisinfectionUV-light radiation
Disinfection MechanismMicro-organisms are killed by exposure to chemical (destruction of cell wall).DNA is damaged by UV light and reporduccion is prevented. Cell structure is left untouched.
DBP formationHigh potentialNO
Minimum contact timeTypically 30 min for ChlorineVery short (1 sec)
Residual effectYes (except ozone)No
Other factorsPH, temperature, type of disinfectant, contact time


2. Water disinfection based on chemical oxidation

The germicidal action of chemical disinfectants is based on oxidation-reduction mechanisms.

Thus, the effectiveness of a chemical disinfectant will be related to its oxidising capacity but also to other water parameters such as temperature and PH.
Watercore design and manufacture dosing and control systems for the most common disinfecting agents: chlorine and ozone.
Ozone needs to be generated on-site, dosing is complex because is not very soluble in water and transforms into Oxygen, leaving no residual disinfection effect. For these reasons we always recommend discussing with one of our engineers before choosing Ozone as disinfection method.
Chlorine can be provided in two forms:
  • As sodium hypochlorite, which is available as a bulk liquid or can be generated on-site. 
  • Calcium hypochlorite, which is in solid state and is used only in small facilities.
Sodium hypochlorite is probably the best option for many facilities as dosing is relatively simple and residual can be easily measured in real time with ORP sensors.

3. Chlorine water disinfection

The most common form of water Chlorination is the use of Sodium Hypochlorite in solution as Chlorine gas presents a number of risk factors not easy to manage in small-to-medium scale applications and Calcium Hypochlorite is a solid and, as such, dosing is more complex.

In general, maintaining 0.5 mg/L residual chlorine with a 30-minute contact time is enough to deactivate most bacteria a virus in water. 

The risk of generating taste and THMs must be reduced by:

  • applying the correct dosing 
  • pre-filtering any organic matter present in water before dosing
Before designing a Chlorine dosing system, it must be noted that the strength of hypochlorite can decline in just a few days and stability is one of the major issues when dealing with Sodium Hypochlorite.  
Exposure to sunlight and storage temperature are factors that will play a role in actual Chlorine strength and disinfection efficiency.

Watercore Chlorine disinfection systems are equipped with the best dosing technology and proven storage tanks.

4. Ozone water disinfection

Ozone is the strongest of all the available chemical disinfectants however presents a number of drawbacks:

  • Ozone is very unstable and cannot be stored and transported, hence needs to be generated on-site
  • Dosing is complex compared to other chemicals and 
  • Efficiency is very low
There are two options for on-site Ozone generation, the use of ambient air or the use of LOX (Liquid Oxygen) which is available from a number of suppliers. The use of LOX has several advantages as is simpler in terms of operation and maintenance and requires a lower investment.


Maintaining 0.4 mg/L of residual Ozone during a 4-minute period is considered enough to deactivate bacteria and virus however, as highlighted before, controlling the appropriate dose requires the use of suitable injectors.

At Watercore, we are always committed to ensuring that our customers are informed of all the available options when choosing the best disinfection method for their application.


5. UV (ultraviolet light) water disinfection

UV radiation applied as disinfection treatment is recognised for not producing by-products

Unlike chemical disinfectants, UV overdosing doesn’t represent any concern to human health and can even be considered a safety factor.

As UV light is generated by the UV lamp inside a highly reflective chamber, it interacts with the materials it encounters through absorption (micro-organisms) and reflection (chamber walls).

In regards to UV dose requirements it is generally accepted that a dose of 40 mJ/cm2 will be sufficient to deactivate 99.999% of bacteria and 99% of all virus. However water flow and UV intensity are the minimum conditions that must be validated whenever UV disinfection is in use. 

6. Silver Ion water disinfection

Silver is occasionally used for disinfection, however there are a number of drawbacks must be considered before deciding its use:

  • Very low disinfection effect
  • Extremely long contact time required to deliver any results
  • Little / unproven technical details
  • Ineffective against a number of micro-organisms
  • Not recommended by the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines
In line with the above, Watercore recommend the use of alternative, effective and proven water disinfection options.

7. Watercore : here to help with commercial and industrial water disinfection

Ultrafiltration (Membrane filtration) provides an excellent barrier against bacteria and most virus. Given sufficient dose and contact time, all common disinfectants (chlorine, UV and ozone) are effective deactivating those micro-organisms that are not retained by filtration. 

When deciding the right water disinfection treatment for your commercial and industrial application, Watercore is your best partner.

8. Learn more about commercial and industrial Water disinfection in our posts:

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