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What is Ozone

What is ozone?

Ois ozone, i.e. gaseous oxygen with an extra oxygen atom loosely bound to the oxygen molecule. Ozone is a strong oxidising compound which rapidly oxidises organic materials, iron, manganese and other substances when it is added to drinking water. In addition, it is an extremely effective disinfectant against bacteria and viruses.

O is the chemical symbol for an oxygen atom.

O2 is the chemical symbol for a molecule of oxygen, i.e. two oxygen atoms firmly bonded together. This is the gas which we humans and animals breathe. The air we breathe consists of about 20% oxygen and about 79% nitrogen, the rest being carbon dioxide and several inert gases such as argon and neon.

O3 is ozone, i.e. gaseous oxygen with an extra oxygen atom loosely bound to the oxygen molecule. Ozone is a strong oxidising compound which rapidly oxidises organic materials, iron, manganese and other substances when it is added to drinking water. In addition, it is an extremely effective disinfectant against bacteria and viruses.

Ozone is a light bluish gas with a marked pungent smell even in very low concentrations.

Ozone is very unstable and therefore has a short life. The gas decomposes within 30-40 minutes and forms oxygen, i.e. the completely safe gas we ourselves breathe.

The quantity of ozone normally added to drinking water in the treatment stage is very small, 0,5-5 g per 1 000 litres.

In addition to its extremely good disinfectant properties, ozone also improves the smell and taste of drinking water and has a bleaching effect on discoloured water. Chlorine in the various forms in which it is added to drinking water as a disinfecting agent can, in certain cases, impair taste and smell and, in isolated cases, give rise to carcinogenic by-products: these aspects can be totally avoided by using ozone.

Ozone kills bacteria about 3 200 times faster than chlorine.

Ozone is produced by electrical discharge e.g. when there is a thunderstorm with lightening or through spark formation e.g. in electrical welding. Strong UV radiation also produces ozone.

The use of ozone in drinking water in Sweden has until recently not been routine. However, there is currently a marked trend towards an increased use of ozone and an understanding of its many advantages.

The use of ozone in Europe and the USA is much wider than in Sweden. Perhaps this is because, compared with large parts of the rest of the world, we have such large reserves of good quality raw water for drinking water use.

Think of the ozone layer which surrounds our earth and which is talked about so often as a protective UV filter against the strong rays of the sun. Without this, the environment in which we live would be threatened!