Christian Friedrich Schönbein was a very good chemist who lived to the ripe old age of 70. In doing so, he defied the odds; he had a knack for putting himself in harm’s way for the sake of science.
Schönbein was born in 1799 and got his education the old-fashioned way—through rampant abuse of child labor. After grammar school, he went to work as a live-in apprentice for a chemical company at 13 years old. He put in 13 hour days, every day, until he was 21. The down side of this was probably a great deal of fatigue, sorrow, and danger. The up side was that spending more than half of each day doing nothing but working in a chemistry lab gave him good training in that science.
Only after leaving the company did he begin an academic study of chemistry. He studied and worked at multiple universities, where he discovered his first incredibly dangerous substance. It was known as “the odor of electricity.” When chemists were performing the electrolysis of water—the experiment we all did in school, during which electricity is used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen—they noticed an odd, slightly sweet scent. The leading theory was that it was little bits of electrode, split off from the main electrode and suspended in the air.
Schönbein didn’t think so. If it were suspended in the air, eventually the scent would dissipate as the particles settled. But he spent long hours in his cramped, stuffy little lab sniffing and sniffing and the scent never went away. Not only that, it was in the air after a lightning strike. Lightning doesn’t require an electrode. Eventually he brought other chemists around to his way of thinking. He called the new “element” ozein, and worked towards, but never succeeded in, isolating large quantities of it. We now know it as ozone, and inhaling will destroy your lungs, heart, and chromosomes.
Schönbein’s first attempts at self-destruction were accidental, but you get the sense that the second time around he was trying. By 1845, he was married and well-established as a chemist. His wife forbade him to take his work home with him, but one weekend she was out of town and he decided to do experiments in her laundry room. He spilled nitric acid, then spilled sulfuric acid, then absentmindedly mopped the spill up with the wife’s apron. To make sure it was dry before she came home, he hung it up near the stove. It burst into flames, burning instantaneously with little smoke. (Come to think of it, maybe he was actually trying to kill his wife.) At that time, the gun was a well-known weapon of war, but gunpowder was slow, unreliable, and produced enough smoke to muck up the machinery in a gun. Schönbein’s discovery became what’s now known as “gun cotton,” a smokeless, cellulose-based explosive that helped make guns easier to use and less messy.
While ozone was just a smell, gun cotton was an invention, and one which Schönbein could patent. Perhaps success mellowed him, because although gun cotton itself was dangerous to manufacture and use, he mostly steered clear of the many fires and explosions that riddle its history. Instead he got a position at the University of Basel, where he sniffed ozone happily until his death in 1868.
The answer is simple, and yet complicated at the same time. Ozone produced naturally is produced from nature the way God intended. However, ozone produced from smog is a chemical reaction and a by-produce of pollution. When ozone is produced from smog, ozone is not produced directly, but indirectly from an undesirable chemical reaction that begins a difficult to stop cycle.
See image above. NO2, and VOC’s are produced as part of pollution, or smog. This NO2 is broken down to NO and O. The extra O can combine with atmospheric O2 to form O3. However, due to the short half life of O3, it will quickly break down into O2 and O to form NO2 again. And the cycle repeats itself. This is an unhealthy pollution cycle that is difficult to break.
When ozone is produced naturally or commercially it is produced from oxygen and quickly breaks back down into oxygen. However, when ozone is produced from the chemical reaction of the smog cycle, this is not the case.
Oxygen-ozone therapy is emerging as a better treatment option than surgery for people suffering from slipped disc due to its minimally invasive procedure and speedy recovery, doctors say.
Experts said the procedure, which was first tried in Europe, leaves no surgical scars on the skin and the patient can be discharged from hospital on the same day compared to surgery which takes weeks.
Slipped or herniated disk is a condition when one of the discs in the spine ruptures and the gel inside leaks out. It causes numbness and pain along the affected nerve. In severe cases, the patient may require surgery to remove or repair the slipped disc.
Pardeep Muley, head of interventional radiology at city-based Fortis hospital, said: “In this procedure, a oxygen-ozone mixture is slowly injected into an artery or vein with a hypodermic syringe.
“The injection results in release of water molecules and subsequent cell degeneration of the matrix, which is replaced by fibrous tissues in five weeks and the formation of new blood cells. Together, these events result in a reduction in disk volume and slowly and slowly cures the problem,” he said.
He said the ozone-oxygen therapy stops the further shrinkage of disc.
Bidhur Gupta from Safdarjung Hospital, a spine expert, said that at the end of the treatment, patients are advised to rest in supine position — lying flat on one’s back — for two hours and walk away on the same day.
“Until a few decades ago, patients with disc herniation had only one treatment option — surgery. But thanks to advanced technology, less radical option is now available,” he said.
Among other benefits of the ozone-oxygen therapy is the lesser risk compared to surgery, cheaper than traditional surgery, exact localisation of the disease is possible through image guidance and procedure done under local anaesthesia.
Gupta said the therapy was helpful in treatment of many other health complications such as heart disease, cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
“It is also used for treating abscesses and other signs of infections. Ozone is sometimes used to stop dental cavities from progressing,” he said.
Between 5% and 10% of patients admitted to modern hospitals in the developed world acquire one or more infections. The risk of health care-associated infection in developing countries is 2 to 20 times higher than in developed countries. In some developing countries, the proportion of patients affected by a health care-acquired infection can exceed 25%. In addition, many hospitals in developing countries and in disaster relief environments make do with simple disinfection of medical material but the risk of nosocomial infections remain high. Now, a company founded by EPFL students has developed a portable sterilization system that costs a fraction of the conventional equipment used in hospitals.
Sterilux was founded by EPFL student, Marc Spaltenstein, who has just completed his Master degree in Life Sciences and Technologies. During an internship with a medical devices company in Neuchâtel, Spaltenstein had to come up with an effective way to sterilize medical equipment on-site. The result was the Steribox system.
The SteriBox is a portable container that can both sterilize and store medical equipment long-term. It was designed by Jordane Vernet, a graduate of École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) and member of Sterilux, and integrates the sterilization technology that Spaltenstein developed.
Designed as a box with a quartz glass on the top, the SteriBox is placed in a machine that generates ultraviolet (UV) light. Only a small amount of water – less than a milliliter – is needed per sterilization cycle. Essentially, the design uses UV light to turn the air’s oxygen into ozone.
The items to be sterilized do not require any kind of preparation or wrapping. They are placed inside the SteriBox, and UV light shines through the glass fitting. This generates ozone, which in turn sterilizes the medical equipment. The process simulates the oxygen-ozone cycle in the earth’s stratosphere, where ozone is used as means of converting UV radiation into heat. The sterilization is further amplified by the generation of hydroxyl radicals from water, which are powerful oxidants and can destroy even the most resistant microorganisms.
“Of course, the SteriBox is only one part of our system,” clarifies Marc Spaltenstein. It is inserted inside the Control Station that contains the UV lamps, a system that allows ozone concentration measurement, a printer for reports on each sterilization cycle, a mini-computer, a battery that provides three days of electrical autonomy, and a computer tablet that runs the software.”
The entire procedure takes a couple of hours but the machine is turned on for five minutes only. The system uses 1,000 times less water and 100 times less electricity than conventional autoclaves; it costs up to 100 times less (compared to developed countries), and is portable, environmentally friendly and safe. The system is controlled by software developed by Gabriel De Tiberge, another EPFL student as part of his master’s thesis. The intelligent and very efficient design earned Sterilux the James Dyson Award in 2015.
Sterilizing surgical tools in hospitals is a routine procedure in private healthcare, but it is difficult to do in public hospitals and emergency and disaster health care units in developing countries. Sterilux’s system is primarily targeted to countries that do not have access to conventional sterilization equipment. However, it will also prove essential to sites where mobile sterilization is required, e.g. temporary emergency centers and clinics.
Aeroqual Handheld monitors are great for a wide variety of gas detection and measurement. Aeroqual offers 3 monitors, the Series-200, Series-300, and Series-500. Below is a great chart to help understand the differences between the 3.
As infrastructure ages and water quality decreases the cost to provide safe drinking water in the USA has increased. The article below, illustrates various issues that municipal water plants are experiencing to delivery high quality, safe, and reliable drinking water to the customers.
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Standing at the edge of the Great Lakes, the world’s largest surface source of fresh water, this city of 280,000 seems immune from the water-supply problems that bedevil other parts of the country. But even here, the promise of an endless tap can be a mirage.
Algae blooms in Lake Erie, fed by agriculture runoff and overflowing sewers, have become so toxic that they shut down Toledo’s water system in 2014 for two days. The city is considering spending millions of dollars to avoid a repeat.
Similar concerns about water quality are playing out elsewhere. Farm fertilizers, discarded pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and even saltwater from rising oceans are seeping into many of the aquifers, reservoirs and rivers that supply Americans with drinking water.
Combating these growing threats means cities and towns must tap new water sources, upgrade aging treatment plants and install miles of pipeline, at tremendous cost.
Consider tiny Pretty Prairie, Kansas, less than an hour’s drive west of Wichita, where the water tower and cast-iron pipes need to be replaced and state regulators are calling for a new treatment plant to remove nitrates from farm fertilizers. The fixes could cost the town’s 310 water customers $15,000 each.
Emily Webb never gave a second thought to the town’s water until she became pregnant almost two years ago. That’s when she learned through a notice in the mail that the water could cause what’s known as “blue baby” syndrome, which interferes with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.
“It just kind of scared me,” she said. “Now we don’t drink it at all.”
Instead, she and her husband stock up on well water from her parents’ home and buy bottled water even though health officials say the risk is limited to infants. When it comes time to buy their first home, she said, they will look somewhere else.
Pretty Prairie’s leaders hope to find a less expensive solution. They say the cost of a new treatment plant would drive people away and threaten the farm town’s survival.
Across the country, small towns and big cities alike are debating how much they can afford to spend to make contaminated water fit for drinking.
Cash-strapped cities worry that an unfair share of the costs are being pushed onto poor residents. Rural water systems say they can’t expect the few people they serve to pay for multimillion-dollar projects.
The U.S Conference of Mayors, in a report released this summer, found spending by local governments on all water-supply projects nearly doubled to $19 billion between 2000 and 2012. Despite a slowdown in recent years, it remained at an all-time high, the report said.
“We have a real dilemma on our hands,” said Richard Anderson, author of the report. “We know we need to increase spending on water, but many houses can’t afford it, and Congress won’t increase funding.”
In California’s Central Valley, low-income farming communities have gone without clean water for years because they don’t have money to build plants to remove uranium, arsenic and nitrates. Drinking fountains at schools have been put off limits, and families spend a large share of their income on bottled water.
A study released in June by the U.S. Geological Survey found nearly one-fifth of the groundwater used for public drinking systems in California contained excessive levels of potentially toxic contaminants.
Compounding the problem is the drought. Because farmers are using more groundwater for irrigation, contaminants are becoming more concentrated in the aquifers and seeping into new wells.
The drought has pushed Los Angeles to plan for the nation’s largest groundwater cleanup project, a $600 million plan to filter groundwater contaminated with toxic chemicals left over from the aerospace and defense industry. Some of the water will be drawn from polluted wells abandoned 30 years ago.
In the Midwest, where shortages typically have not been a concern, more attention is being paid to farming’s effect on drinking water supplies.
Minnesota’s governor this year ordered farmers to plant vegetation instead of crops along rivers, streams and ditches to filter runoff. The water utility in Des Moines, Iowa’s largest city, is suing three rural counties to force tighter regulations on farm discharges.
And in the wake of Toledo’s water crisis, Ohio has put limits on when and where farmers can spread fertilizer and manure on fields.
“But no one really knows how well that works,” said Chuck Campbell, the city’s water treatment supervisor.
Given that, the city has spent $5 million in the past year to bolster its ability to cleanse water drawn from Lake Erie. It is planning a renovation that could approach $350 million and include a system that uses ozone gas to destroy toxins produced by the algae. A 56 percent water rate increase is footing most of the bill.
In many coastal areas, rising seas mean saltwater can intrude into underground aquifers and in some cases ruin existing municipal wells. It’s especially problematic in the Southeast, from Hilton Head Island in South Carolina to Florida’s seaside towns near Miami.
“Nature’s calling the shots and we’re reacting,” said Keith London, a city commissioner in Hallandale Beach, Florida, where six of eight freshwater wells are no longer usable.
The city is considering relocating wells, upgrading its treatment plant or buying water from a neighboring town.
The water that comes out of the tap in the oceanside town of Edisto Beach, South Carolina, is so salty that it corrodes dishwashers and washing machines within just a few years, resident Tommy Mann said.
While technically safe to drink, it tastes so bad that the town gives away up to five gallons of purified water a day to residents and vacationers.
Voters narrowly rejected a proposal two years ago that would have doubled water rates to pay for an $8.5 million reverse-osmosis filtering system.
Said Mann: “We’re living in a beautiful little town with Third World water.”
As of 2013, at least 277 Water Treatment Plant’s (WTP’s) operating in the USA utilize ozone. This number only includes plants larger than 1 MGD capacity. These plants have a combined combined capacity of 14.5 billion gallons per day with ozone production greater than 600,000 lb/day. Since 1993 at least 55 of these plants have been upgraded, again using ozone technology. Proving that ozone was cost effective and a good solution for the application.
Most ozone use for municipal water is in large water treatment plants. Of the 277 WTP’s of record less than 30 are plants with a capacity of less than 2 MGD. The median WTP implementing ozone is expected to grow from 5 MGD capacity at the end of 1984 to 80 MGP at the end of 2020.
Future of ozone use in municipal drinking water
The future of ozone in WTP’s in the USA is great. The EPA estimates there are over 150,000 municipal WTP’s in the USA. Only ~300 of these WTP’s are using, or planning on using ozone. Most of these plants are large, or very large. Opportunity for ozone use in WTP’s in the USA is untapped.
Small to Medium sized WTP’s growth potential in the USA is the greatest. The largest WTP’s are targeted for ozone implementation. Also, the majority of ozone implementation is in large WTP’s. There are many small to medium WTP’s in the USA that could also benefit from ozone use, but are not targeted by the traditional ozone industry. This is the benefit of working with Oxidation Technologies. Our history of industrial and agricultural system integration lends us a great deal of experience integrating medium and large ozone systems that are well suited for medium sized municipalities.
Image shows that WTP’s started in 10 year spans shown by water treatment capacity
It is clear that the average size of WTP using ozone has grown over time
Emphasis on small and medium WTP’s has diminished
Image shows that WTP’s started in 10 year spans shown by ozone production.
The average size ozone system has grown over time
Emphasis on small and medium WTP’s has diminished
Where and why is ozone implemented?
Ozone is used in 42 of the 50 states in the USA. Ozone is used all over the USA for a variety of applications. Ozone use does follow the population trends. The states of California, and Texas are the two largest users of ozone for municipal WTP’s.
Ozone is used to replace traditional oxidations
Disinfection (Giardia & viruses)
Taste and odor control
Reduction of chlorinated DBP’s
Removal of color
Sulfide oxidation, TOC reduction, Iron and Manganese oxidation
Enhance coagulation processes
Image shows WTP’s using ozone and the purpose for ozone implementation
Ozone use for municipal WTP’s is diverse, and continues to be diverse
Only the use of ozone for Disinfection has grown consistently in each decade
Ozone use for “Other” has also grown over time, however this is a large group of uses for ozone in one category.
Summary – Ozone use for drinking water is diverse. Many WTP’s throughout the USA will benifit from ozone in some way.
Will your city or project benefit from ozone use?
This is tough to answer. The best answer we can give, is call our application engineers for more information.
If pre-oxidation is required for water treatment, then yes, ozone would be a great alternative to those chemicals. If disinfection by products are a concern, then yes ozone would be a great alternative to chemicals producing those DBP’s. However, most applications are not this simple, give us a call, we would be glad to help,
With the easy to exchange sensors and handy sensor keeper the C16 can be used for low ozone detection with ppb resolution and accuracy, while also used for high range leak detection or measuring other gasses. We believe the only limiting factor the functionality of the C16 was the lack of the ppb sensor resolution. Now that this feature is available we see no other ozone sensor that can compare with the C16.
Interchangeable “Smart Sensors” for over 30 gases
Internal sample pump and external sampling wand Standard “D” cell battery and rechargeable backup battery
One-hand pistol grip design
Easy to read back-lit graphics liquid crystal display
Instantaneous and timed-sampling modes of operation
Ozone can be very effective at treating well water for residential, commercial, or agricultural applications. Ozone is also commonly used for municipal water treatment, click here for information on ozone used for municipal water treatment.
Ozone implementation can be very simple, reliable and efficient. Ozone equipment is a one time cost with no salt, or other chemicals to buy. Only minor long term maintenance and electrical costs are incurred. Long term, ozone can be a more cost effective solution, while minimizing lugging of salt bags and chemicals!
When considering ozone for well water treatment keep in mind total water consumption in a day, but also peak water demand. Remember, ozone cannot be stored and must be produced as it is used. Therefore, the ozone generator must be sized based on peak water demand, not average water flow.
Also consider when sizing an ozone system for one application, like iron removal from water, that TOC in the water, while potentially not a primary concern, will need to be considered, as this TOC will also consume ozone and create ozone demand. Be ready to provide complete water quality data when trying to determine the size of ozone system for water treatment.
Every water is different. Also, each contaminate will require different ozone demand, and may require excess contact time, or filtration to remote contaminate. Below we outline considerations when trying to determine the right ozone system for your application. This is by no means a comprehensive list, for specific recommendations for your water, contact our ozone experts today!
Hydrogen Sulfide is found in well water where organics have broken down over time to form sulfides and hydrogen sulfides. H2S produces a foul odor and taste to the water. Some describe the odor as a “rotten egg” odor. Ozone can be used to efficiently, and safely remove H2S from water without the addition of any chemicals or salt.
Hydrogen Sulfide is oxidized easily by ozone into soluble Sulfite and Sulfate. Extra contact time of ozone with water will be required to ensure complete oxidation of H2S in water, however no filtration is required for H2S removal alone.
To oxidize H2S with ozone a working dosage rate of 4 ppm of ozone for every 1 ppm of H2S has been proven effective. A contact time with water up to 10 ppm may also be required for complete removal of H2S from water. This will be dependent upon incoming H2S levels in your water.
High levels of H2S in water will also foul resin beds of a water softener. Therefore, while the softener may remove some H2S from water for a while, this will not be along term solution. Another consideration is aeration of water to remove low levels of H2S. While a low cost solution, may increase the bacteria that formed sulfide to begin with and increase overall bacteria levels in the water system. Consider using ozone prior to a water softener to reduce H2S in water safely and provide water disinfection at the same time.
Well water and surface water may have taste and odor issues beyond the common H2S contamination. Iron, manganese, and other elemental metals in high levels can also cause taste and odor issues. Most commonly organics that are decomposing in the water source cause high bacteria, and other organics that will cause off odor or taste to your water.
Ozone will efficiently oxidize organics from water much the same as it will oxidize H2S from water. It will be helpful to ensure you have accurate water quality data to ensure ozone is an effective and complete solution to your taste and odor issues.
Coliform bacteria or other pathogens maybe found in well water, especially when the well is shallow. These pathogens commonly cause the well to be unused, or used for non potable applications. Ozone can be used to kill bacteria and pathogens efficiently.
As ozone is an efficient disinfectant minimal contact time is required, therefore minimal equipment beyond the ozone generator, and ozone mixing equipment is required.
Ozone is non-selective and will destroy all pathogens in water. Unlike other chemical based solutions bacteria cannot become immune to the oxidation action of ozone. Also, using ozone will ensure residual chemicals are not added into your water supply.
Commonly when using ozone for water disinfection other benefits are realized. Ozone will enhance particulate removal and coagulation of minerals from your water, reducing the salt used in a water softener, or enhancing overall taste and odor of your water.
Total Organic Carbon (TOC) is any compound containing the carbon atom that is not already fully oxidized. For example, CO2 would not be considered TOC.
TOC is found in most water sources in small amounts. High levels of TOC may be found in water containing microorganisms or other organic matter. Commonly TOC levels in surface water or shallow wells will change with the seasons, there may be spikes of high TOC levels during the spring or summer season.
Ozone can efficiently oxidize TOC into CO2 or other volatile or soluble carbonates. Only ozone in water and sufficient contact time is necessary for complete TOC removal from water. Ozone is a safe option, and a cost effective vs ongoing chemicals that are added to the water, or Activated Carbon (GAC) that will require replacement and maintenance.