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Environmentally friendly and chemical free disinfection rivals traditional biocides

31 May 2012

Amid rising concerns about energy prices, environmental impact and the safety of water in work and public places, a technology has been developed to tackle all three convergent issues simultaneously. It is inspired by nature’s own water purification method and is set to revolutionise how the water we use in our workplaces, public buildings and leisure spaces is kept free from bacteria such as Legionella.

Essex and Yorkshire based Guardian Water Treatment is now introducing Wallenius Water patented Advanced Oxidation Technology (AOT) across the country. Those who adopt the method, which is based on decades of research and successful implementations, will eliminate the need for chemicals at a stroke, and save energy into the bargain.

The technology was originally developed as a safer, more efficient way of treating ballast seawater aboard ships before discharge - often thousands of miles away from where it was taken on board. In order not to relocate local bacteria, viruses and microbiological impurities that could affect a foreign ecosystem, ships are obliged to use a combination of boiling, filtering and chemicals to ensure that the ballast water they release does not contain unwanted foreign bodies.

Wallenius' AOT technology utilises the ability of light, together with photocatalytic semiconductor surfaces, to produce free radicals, as occurs in the natural environment. These are highly reactive and quickly break down harmful microorganisms and other pollutants in water. The entire process takes just a few microseconds - to all intents and purposes - it is instantaneous.

Steven Booth of Guardian Water Treatment says Wallenius AOT is the most widely recognised alternative for ecologically sound, high-tech water purification. "Our clients have to battle with the combined pressures of having to save money, be green and remain compliant with legislation. The most reassuring feature of using the Wallenius AOT approach is that it has been proven to achieve 99.999% Legionella ‘kill rates’ - so it really is a case of using less energy and cost to achieve greater safety and reassurance."

In evaporative cooling systems, where Wallenius AOT is already used widely in Europe, the removal of the primary biocide means that the environmental impact of the cooling system is reduced. Increased bacterial control, reduced water usage and less handling, transportation and packaging of chemicals are all observable benefits where it is applied to a suitable system.
In hot and cold water systems, Wallenius AOT works like a barrier and can stop bacteria from entering the storage tanks and then keep the water “fresh” when re-circulating. It can also be used on hot water services to reduce operating temperatures but retain the bacterial cleanliness. As the technology adds no harmful by-products to the water, building managers can reduce the constant monitoring and workload involved in handling chemicals, dosing water and dosing equipment management.

Further benefits are apparent in the leisure industry, particularly in regard to swimming pool water treatment, and also in private or public Jacuzzis where the temperature of the water is maintained at a level which allows Legionella bacteria to breed very effectively. Wallenius AOT solutions from Guardian Water Treatment can vastly reduce chlorine usage, reduce the need for backwashing (wasting already heated water), and improve water clarity.

The natural process whereby water impurities are broken down by the natural free radicals in the treatment means that organic matter is broken down into water molecules almost instantly. This means that a swimming pool would benefit from smelling less ‘chemical’ and organic odours would not have the chance to develop into unsavoury smells.

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