By Mark Nelson — President, Nelson Water

With more than 30 years’ experience in the residential and commercial water treatment space, Mark Nelson is a Class 1 Drinking-Water Operator and a CBWA (Canadian Bottled Water Association) Certified Plant Operator. As founder and president of Nelson Water in Ottawa, Mark focuses on dealing with challenging water treatment system designs for problem water. He also heads the largest water bottling plant in the city of Ottawa with a delivery network throughout the Valley. 

If you have been looking at effective water treatment methods, you may have heard about Ultraviolet or UV water disinfection systems. This is a water treatment method that is one of the best ways to deal with harmful microbes and bacteria that could be present in your water supply. For this reason, even homeowners with other water treatment systems may also have a UV water treatment system as a final line of defense. Let’s take a closer look at how UV systems work to make your water safer to use.

Understanding UV Systems

The water coming into your home may contain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli and coliform, which can affect your health. When you have a UV water treatment system installed, all of the water coming into your home passes through it. All the water is exposed to UV light, and this neutralizes the microorganism by rearranging its DNA/RNA. Effectively, this will remove the microorganisms’ ability to reproduce and when it cannot replicate it will not be able to infect any other living organisms that it comes into contact with.

Do You Need a UV Water Treatment System? 

Our water is treated before making its way to our homes, and it should be safe to drink. Unfortunately, once the treated water leaves the water treatment plant, it has to travel through a considerable distance of pipes before it reaches our homes. Aging infrastructure is a real problem, water leaching, corrosion, and breaks can allow microorganisms access to the water. Other problems could also include backflow contamination, power outages and a loss of water pressure. Any of these issues could allow harmful microorganisms into the treated water and make it less safe to use.

How Effective is a UV System?

Exposure to UV light is a straightforward and yet highly effective way to deal with waterborne microorganisms. Up to 99.99% of harmful microorganisms are destroyed, and this is achieved without adding harmful chemicals to your water supply. A wide variety of the harmful organisms that can be removed include bacteria, E. coli, giardia, polio, viruses, coliform, cryptosporidium, cholera, salmonella, and others. A microorganism that cannot replicate cannot cause an infection, and they are rendered harmless. This makes UV water treatment systems very safe to use, and they are available in a wide range of sizes to suit a variety of applications. Installation is relatively simple, they are easy to clean, they require very little maintenance, and they don’t use much energy.

Using a UV System as a Final Line of Defense

Many people, even if they have other water treatment system installed, use a UV system as a final line of defense. This is common sense when you understand how effective UV is at destroying harmful microorganisms as they enter the home. No matter how effective your local water treatment plant may be, there are always areas of the water delivery network that fail. It’s nice to know that even a corroded, broken pipe or perhaps a boil water alert for your neighborhood will not affect your water health.