Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine


Friday, May 15th, 2020

CETCO announces the launch of FLUORO-SORB® adsorbent, a proprietary, NSF/ANSI 61-certified product that effectively treats multiple variants of PFAS. It binds the entire spectrum of PFAS (including PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS and PFNA) efficiently and in a wide variety of removal and remediation processes. This product also controls the source of contamination and can be deployed easily as a flow-through treatment media, as a passive in situ treatment (permeable reactive barrier and in-situ stabilization and solidification or ISS), or used in a CETCO REACTIVE CORE MAT® composite geotextile mat for sediment capping. Made in the USA, manufactured in an ISO9001:2015 facility.

Filter cartridges

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Delta Pure Filtration CFM Series Carbon Fiber Filter Cartridges are designed to remove organic compounds, hydrocarbons, chlorine, color and odors from aqueous and organic liquids and gases. This design of the carbon media is intended to maximize flow and contaminant removal without carbon being released into the system. The CFM is made of high-efficiency absorption activated carbon that uses a hollow framework as the support and multiple prefiltration design. The CFM provides low-pressure drop and is nontoxic, tasteless, acid resistant and alkali-resistant.

Volumetric feeder

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Scaletron Industries Ltd. introduces the VMF-90F volumetric feeder, a totally self-contained, automated, dry-chemical addition system. Full-featured upon installation, it also offers useful options to optimize automatic monitored dosing processes in the water and wastewater industries. The entire system is mounted on a steel skid with forklift cutouts. The feed rate is 0.36 to 3.56 cubic feet per hour, with accuracy to within one percent of volume. The feed rate is optimized with a 1.5-inch (38.1-mm) diameter, stainless steel open helix feed screw, which delivers material to a built-in wetting cone. The standard VMF-90F unit features carbon steel construction with corrosion-resistant zinc oxide primed, dry-powder epoxy coating.
(800) 257-5911

Surface disinfection

Friday, May 15th, 2020

AquiSense Technologies introduces the PearlSurface 24G9 UV-C LED surface-disinfection product, featuring simple operation, an integrated timer, low-voltage power supply and compact footprint. For point-of-use settings such as factories and for personal protective equipment disinfection, this product offers advanced benefits specific to LEDs, including mercury-free lamps, instant-on operation and low cost of ownership, while providing high-power density, homogeneous disinfection of target objects. The company will be offering this product under the current US FDA enforcement relief, to deal with immediate COVID-19 emergency use and will simultaneously submit a pre-market approval application.

LED showerheads

Friday, May 15th, 2020

QMP’s 540 and LED Supreme showerheads filter and remove 90 percent or more of chlorine for a better all-around shower experience. Regular use results in healthier skin and more manageable hair with reduced fading and discoloration. The showerheads remove heavy metals and many other toxins; contain the industry’s best media, including KDF-55, tourmaline and quartz crystals; feature crystalline quartz for an energy enhanced feel and better soap lathering; work with hand-held shower kits; install in minutes (no special tools or professional help required) and have easy-to-replace filter cartridges that will last four to five months.

Metering pump

Friday, May 15th, 2020

Blue-White’s® NEW FLEXFLO® A1F peristaltic metering pump will not lose prime, overheat in warm climates and does not require continuous maintenance. The A1F is ideal for use when metering off-gasing chemicals, such as sodium hypochlorite and peracetic acid. It maintains smooth chemical feed and will never loose prime. There are no check valves that could clog. The 1,000:1 turn-down ratio allows the user to standardize on one pump for all chemical feed applications. The large turn-down ratio capability is due to the energy-efficient, brushless DC motor. The motor runs cool and reduces power usage for a high-energy efficiency rating. Other features include: feed rates to 5.60 GPH (21.19 LPH), pressures to 100 PSI (6.89 bar), sealed weather-proof enclosure, patented Tube Failure Detection, wall- and shelf-mount brackets, heavy-duty, weather-proof display shield, self-adjusting power supply and a three-year warranty.


NSF/ANSI 55 for UV Systems Including LED UVC

Friday, May 15th, 2020

By Rick Andrew

NSF/ANSI 55 Ultraviolet Microbiological Water Treatment Systems was first adopted as an American National Standard almost 20 years ago in May, 1991. At that time (and for years afterward), the dominant technology for POU and POE UV systems was low-pressure, mercury lamp systems. So not surprisingly, NSF/ANSI 55 was written specifically to address effective and rigorous evaluation of low-pressure, mercury lamp systems. Over the last five years or so, rapid advances have occurred in LED UVC technology. As these advances have continued, the NSF Drinking Water Treatment Units Task Group on UV has worked to develop an appropriate evaluation protocol for evaluating the efficacy of POU and POE LED UVC systems.

The end result of these efforts is the publication of NSF/ANSI 55–2019 (on July 29, 2019). This new version of NSF/ANSI 55 includes an expanded scope that covers not only low-pressure, mercury UV POU/POE systems, but now also LED UVC POU/POE systems.

Evaluation of POU/POE LED UVC systems
There are several key elements to the method used to evaluate these systems, including the following:

Classes of treatment
As with traditional low-pressure, mercury UV systems, there are two classes of systems established for POU/POE LED UVC systems: Class A and Class B. Class A systems are considered to be water purification devices and Class B systems are considered to be devices for supplemental treatment of potable water.

Criteria based on log reduction
Instead of using a dose-response curve and criteria based on calculated dose, the new standard evaluates pass/fail based on log reduction. Class A systems require a 4-log reduction, whereas Class B systems require 1.5-log reduction for those systems that have a UV sensor, or 2.14-log reduction for those systems that do not have a UV sensor. The rationale behind 2.14-log reduction is that it is equivalent to 1.5-log reduction at 70-percent UV transmittance.

Reduction of UV transmissivity (UVT) using a UV absorbing chemical for systems with a UV sensor
A mixture of vanillin (CAS# 121-33-5) and SuperHume®, which is available from UAS of America as Cropmaster®, SuperHume or AquaHume®, is used to reduce the UVT of the test water to the alarm set-point or to 70-percent UVT, whichever is lower, for those systems that have a UV sensor and alarm. The vanillin and SuperHume are combined in a ratio of 1.0-mg vanillin to 0.02-mL SuperHume. Systems without a UV sensor are restricted to being Class B only and are tested without addition of UV-absorbing chemicals to the test water.

A test organism
Qβ coliphage ATCC # 23631-B1 has been confirmed to be a conservative surrogate for the UV inactivation of rotavirus, which has been the benchmark for UV inactivation of viruses as established in the Guide Standard and Protocol for Testing Microbiological Water Purifiers, Report of Task Force, US EPA, April 1987. By establishing effective inactivation of Qβ, the overall microbiological treatment efficacy of a POE or POE LED UVC system can be established.

A test protocol
NSF/ANSI 55 establishes the protocol used to introduce the test water with the Qβ to test units. In this protocol, two test systems are operated over a seven-day period with sampling of untreated (influent) and treated (effluent) water according to Figure 1. For systems connected to the water supply, the flowrate for testing is the highest achievable flowrate over the range of 15 psig to the system’s maximum operating pressure.

Additional requirements
Beyond evaluating the effectiveness of POU and POE LED UVC systems, NSF/ANSI 55 requires that they be manufactured with materials that won’t contaminate the drinking water. This is accomplished through extraction testing, in which test units are exposed to water that has specific characteristics under controlled conditions and then that water is analyzed for potential contaminants that may have leached from the materials of the test units into the water. The concentration of any contaminants detected is evaluated to determine if it is posing risks to human health.

Systems that are connected to a pressurized water supply are also evaluated for structural integrity through a hydrostatic pressure test, which is a 15-minute test at an elevated pressure that is based on the type of system being evaluated and its maximum pressure rating. Additionally, open-discharge POU systems are subjected to a cyclic test of 10,000 cycles from zero to 50 psi. NSF/ANSI 55 also spells out information requirements that must be included in the product’s installation and operation instructions, on the system’s data plate, on the packaging of system replacement elements and in the system’s performance data sheet.

A thorough and appropriate evaluation
Building on requirements established for low-pressure, mercury POU/POE UV systems, while making selected scientifically based adjustments for the evaluation of the LED UVC systems, NSF/ANSI 55–2019 provides a comprehensive evaluation framework for both low-pressure mercury and LED UVC technologies. Detailed protocols and requirements exist for establishing Class A or Class B UV performance for these systems. The new protocol for LED UVC systems was developed to be a rigorous test of this technology, which can emit radiation at different wavelengths throughout the UVC range, depending on the design and manufacturing of the specific LED being evaluated. Additionally, like all of the NSF/ANSI DWTU Standards, NSF/ANSI 55–2019 includes additional relevant criteria for a complete system evaluation, including material safety, structural integrity and product literature.

Ultimately, NSF/ANSI 55 has been and will continue to be a valuable tool to help manufacturers, end users and regulators establish fitness for the purpose for POU/POE UV systems. The milestone accomplishment of NSF/ANSI 55–2019 is that the scope is expanded beyond low-pressure mercury technology to now also include LED UVC technology, as well.

About the author
Rick Andrew is NSF’s Director of Global Business Development–Water Systems. Previously, he served as General Manager of NSF’s Drinking Water Treatment Units (POU/POE), ERS (Protocols) and Biosafety Cabinetry Programs. Andrew has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and an MBA from the University of Michigan. He can be reached at (800) NSF-MARK or email: Andrew@nsf.org

Communicating in a Crisis

Friday, May 15th, 2020

By Wes Bleed

Crisis communications is typically the province of public relations professionals, otherwise known as spin doctors, who take a bad news story that threatens the reputation of an organization or individual and somehow neutralize it, if not turn it into a positive narrative. It’s generally seen as a necessary evil, especially in today’s fast-moving digital world. Recently, however, crisis communications has been redefined. It now involves a whole new set of challenges as businesses, large and small, have had to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. As a metaphor for the very crisis itself, the need for effective, truthful and timely information has increased virally throughout the spring of 2020. It’s a crisis of no one’s doing and yet, everyone has had to step up and adapt their messaging and marketing in ways unlike anything most of us have ever seen.

That doesn’t mean any and all communication are created equal. There are some strategies and tactics that are more effective and more positive than others. Doug Ramer, MWS, CWR, Human Resources Director at Martin Water Conditioning in Myerstown, PA, says it starts with reassuring the customer. “We’re either going to do something or say something to remove doubts and fears,” Ramer said during a recent Dealer Section meeting of the Water Quality Association. Explain the steps and precautions your company is taking to keep employees and customers safe, he argued.

Ramer recounted how during the coronavirus pandemic, one customer was concerned about having a water treatment professional come into their home. “My husband has COPD and a heart condition—I need you to take the utmost care when you come,” Ramer recalled the woman saying. And so, the very words one uses to respond are critical. “Replace ‘we’ll try’ with ‘we will,’” he said. Ramer said it’s also important to reassure employees. “Communicate, communicate and communicate,” he said. Increase your frequency of communication, look for new and better ways to communicate and speak to their fears. “Right now, is not a time to talk about you. It’s a time to listen.”

Fear is at the heart of many questions these days: fear of contracting the coronavirus, fear of losing one’s job, fear of what might happen to loved ones and fear of how long the ordeal will last. The ability to address those fears will go a long way to fostering confidence with customers, clients and the general public. WQA provided members with a checklist of important recommendations to follow during the crisis, everything from following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to asking the customer, especially the elderly, if there are any other needs for which they can offer assistance.

While social media and email marketing have been effective means of reaching out to customers during the crisis, Amanda Crangle with Lamplight Digital Media in southwest Colorado says it’s also important to update your website with information about the safe solutions you offer. “Some clients are offering online consultations through Zoom or other platforms,” Crangle said during an interview on the WQA podcast, WQA Radio. “They can still have a face-to-face conversation with folks but don’t have to necessarily be in their homes.” For Crangle, providing real value is the key, whether that’s through salt delivery service for those who don’t want to go to the store or offering bottled water delivery. She says overall her clients are seeing an uptick in web-form submissions and phone calls from customers during the crisis.

‘Data Dale’ Fihaber with the Dataman Group in Boca Raton, FL, says it’s crucial to keep messaging at a higher level and not just focus on making a sale. “We have to tell (the customer) up front that we understand, we’re all in the same place and we do everything we can to keep them safe,” Filhaber said during an interview on WQA Radio. After the crisis has ended, Filhaber suggests sending a letter to current and past customers and let them know the steps you’ve taken and new measures you’ve put in place that will address ongoing concerns that customers will invariably have for some time to come. With uncertainty about how long the crisis will last, it’s tempting to cut your marketing budget. Filhaber says resist the temptation. “Companies that market come back nine times faster than companies that don’t,” she explained.

Filhaber and Crangle both recommend taking advantage of any extra time during the crisis to work on your marketing plan to prepare for the pickup of business activity likely to occur after the crisis. “When that faucet gets turned back on, there are going to be so many messages out there, every dealer is going to have to break through the clutter so that they can get their message to the people they want to reach,” Filhaber said. Crangle believes this is the time to position your company as the local water quality expert and someone who’s invested in the community. “We can take an opportunity to challenge our current systems, and test what’s working, what’s not, and hopefully come up with some great ideas to continue to provide value in new ways in the future.”

Finally, remember to say thank you for the help others have provided to you and for the ongoing faith customers have expressed in you during this crisis. It’s not only the right thing to do, but it will build trust and goodwill that you’ll need when the next crisis hits.

About the author
Wes Bleed is Marketing and Communications Director at the Water Quality Association. He joined WQA in 2016, after decades of experience in broadcasting, media relations, crisis communications and media training. Bleed hosts WQA Radio (the association’s weekly podcast) and oversees all video and digital communications at WQA.

Inside the 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC)

Friday, May 15th, 2020

By Thomas Palkon

The International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) published the 2021 Uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) in March. As anticipated, the 2021 edition has some significant modifications to the sections covering drinking water treatment products. As the 2021 revision of the UPC becomes adopted by states and local jurisdictions, it’s important for industry manufacturers and dealers to understand the code changes that affect drinking water treatment product installations.

This article outlines the 2021 code changes pertaining to water treatment systems and provides some insight on the new water treatment product standards that are referenced in the 2021 revision. Three new standards are referenced in the revised Section 611.1 of the 2021 UPC with regard to drinking water treatment units. Additionally, ASSE 1023 is now referenced in Chapter 4 for low-pressure water dispensers. Outlined below is the current 2018 UPC text, followed by the proposed 2021 UPC revisions to Section 611.1, covering water treatment equipment. In the 2021 revision, note the new Table 611.1 and new subsections 611.1.1 and 611.1.2.

2018 UPC Code excerpt
611.0 Drinking Water Treatment Units.
611.1 Application. Drinking water treatment units shall comply with NSF 42 or NSF 53. Water softeners shall comply with NSF 44. Ultraviolet water treatment systems shall comply with NSF 55. Reverse osmosis drinking water treatment systems shall comply with NSF 58. Drinking water distillation systems shall comply with NSF 62.
611.2 Air Gap Discharge. Discharge from drinking water treatment units shall enter the drainage system through an air gap in accordance with Table 603.3.1 or an air gap device in accordance with Table 603.2, NSF 58, or IAPMO PS 65.
611.3 Connection Tubing. The tubing to and from drinking water treatment units shall be of a size and material as recommended by the manufacturer.
611.4 Sizing of Residential Softeners. Residential-use water softeners shall be sized in accordance with Table 611.4.

2021 UPC Code excerpt
611.0 Drinking Water Treatment Units.
611.1 Application. Drinking water treatment units shall comply with the applicable referenced standards in Table 611.1.
611.1.1 Alkaline Water Treatment. Alkaline water treatment devices shall comply with IAPMO IGC 322.
611.1.2 Scale Reduction Devices. Scale reduction devices shall comply with IAPMO Z601.
611.2 Air Gap Discharge. Discharge from drinking water treatment units shall enter the drainage system through an air gap in accordance with Table 603.3.1 or an air gap device in accordance with Table 603.2, NSF 58 or IAPMO PS 65.
611.3 Connection Tubing. The tubing to and from drinking water treatment units shall be of a size and material as recommended by the manufacturer.
611.4 Sizing of Residential Softeners. Residential-use water softeners shall be sized in accordance with Table 611.4.

The new Table 611.1 provides a list of water treatment technologies along with the corresponding performance and safety standards used to test and certify the product types. The table provides details for residential and commercial product standards required in the UPC. Adding this table helps clarify the scope of each product standard. The addition of the ASSE 1087–2018 standard provides clarity regarding the standard covering commercial and food service water treatment products. Along with the new table, two new Subsections, 611.1.1 and 611.1.2, provide information on the performance and safety standards that cover alkaline water treatment devices and products designed to reduce scale from drinking water.

ASSE 1087-2018 Performance Requirement for Commercial and Food Service Water Treatment Equipment Utilizing Drinking Water
The application of this standard includes commercial water treatment equipment used in POE and POU applications connected to the building plumbing , to improve the water quality characteristics of potable water. This standard includes testing requirements for components and complete systems and covers all water treatment products that are connected to the building’s potable water plumbing system. This standard is not intended to cover water treatment products used for process water or wastewater applications. Examples of water treatment equipment include deionizers, filters, softeners, RO assemblies, UV systems, ozone systems and distillers.

Tests verifying claims regarding changes to water chemistry, microbiology and aesthetics (i.e. smell, taste, appearance, etc.) are not included in this standard. Devices may claim such performance via other standards or test protocols. Similar to other ASSE standards, the ASSE 1087 standard includes minimum performance tests that focus on public health and product safety, such as:

  • Service flowrate and pressure drop. Testing to verify flowrate and pressure drop characteristics to assist with installation sizing requirements.
  • Backsiphonage. Products that operated via self-regeneration have integrated backflow protection to ensure the regenerant cannot enter the potable water.
  • 24-hour pressure loss. To ensure that the device’s seals, joints and connections continue to maintain the static working pressure.
  • Pressure shock (water hammer). To determine if the device, when subjected to a pressure of two times the manufacturer’s maximum rated working pressure, withstands the shock wave produced in downstream piping.
  • Structural Integrity – hydrostatic. This test is performed to ensure the system or component will be able to withstand peak pressures found in a plumbing system when assembled into a complete water treatment system.
  • Structural integrity – cycle test. This test is performed to ensure the system or component will be able to withstand repeated pressure cycling.
  • Material safety. To ensure products connected to a potable water supply will not add contaminants to the drinking water above safe levels.
  • Marking. To provide guidance to uses on temperature and pressure limitations and to distinguish between products approved for use on potable water versus process water.

IAPMO IGC 322-2018 Alkaline Water – Drinking Water Treatment Units
This standard covers alkaline water drinking water treatment devices intended for use in residential, commercial and food-service applications and specifies requirements for materials, performance tests and markings.
Alkaline water. Drinking water treatment products covered by this standard increase alkalinity in potable water using a continuous-flow-type electrolytic water generator and can include the following types:

(a) electrolytic water generators, with internal power supply equipment for continuous flow
(b) electrolytic water generators intended to increasing alkalinity in potable water

Testing requirements include:

  • Material safety. Alkaline water treatment devices covered by this standard shall be made of materials safe to contact drinking water that complies with Section 4 of NSF/ANSI 42 or NSF/ANSI 53.
  • Structural integrity. The structural integrity test for alkaline water treatment units shall be conducted in accordance with NSF/ANSI 42, Section 5.4.
  • Aesthetic and health effects reduction claims. Aesthetic and health effects reduction claims marketed by the alkaline water treatment unit shall be conducted using the performance criteria in NSF/ANSI 42 and NSF/ANSI 53 or other applicable standards.
  • Alkaline test. The minimum flowrate of 2.2 L/min (0.58 gpm shall be maintained during production. Samples of product water shall be collected at the manufacturers recommended pH ranges. The specific pH of the product shall be +/‐ 0.5 the pH measured. Product samples shall be analyzed for oxidation reduction potential (ORP) at each pH.

The chart below indicates the required ORP at specified pH ranges.

(a) 8.5 pH – 250‐ ~ 400 orp
(b) 9.0 pH ‐ 400 ~ 550 orp range
(c) 9.5 pH – 500 ~ 650 orp
(d) 5.5 pH > +500
(e) 2.7 pH > +1100
(f) 11.0 pH > ‐800 (for example ‐800 ~ ‐1100)

Alkaline water generators may have the potential to form total trihalomethane (TTHM) compounds when treating water supplies containing total organic carbon. To address this concern, the product shall have a post filter that conforms to NSF/ANSI 53 for VOC or TTHM reduction.

IAPMO/ANSI Z601-2018 Scale Reduction Devices
Although several alternatives to ion-exchange water treatment devices have the potential to offer solutions to consumers’ need for scale reduction, lack of an appropriate test protocol that can be used to certify their effectiveness did not exist until IAPMO/ANSI Z601 was published in 2019. This standard was developed to enable testing of devices that have the potential to reduce encrusted scale in residential water heaters and downstream associated plumbing. The standard includes the following test requirement categories: material safety, structural integrity, scale-reduction performance testing for tank-type water heaters and tank-less water heaters requiring a minimum of 70-percent reduction in scale formed in the hot-water heater and downstream piping.
The scope of the standard covers scale-reduction devices intended for residential and similar water-heating applications. The intent of this standard is to rate or verify the effectiveness of the product’s ability to reduce or eliminate scale in hot-water systems and downstream water-piping systems. The development of IAPMO/ANSI Z601 now allows companies to verify the scale-reduction performance of their device. It also allows certification bodies the ability to certify the scale-reduction performance utilizing an ANSI standard.

ASSE 1023-2019 Electrically Heated or Cooled Water Dispensers
The ASSE 1023 standard has been referenced in the UPC and the International Plumbing Code (IPC) for many years. This standard, however, has undergone a significant update for the 2019 edition. ASSE 1023-2019 now applies to filtered and non-filtered water dispensers that cool or heat drinking water. The standard also now covers water dispensers (filtered or unfiltered) that include an integral, electrically powered heater or cooler. Examples of products covered by this standard include (but are not limited to) under-counter mounted water-dispensing systems, free-standing plumbed systems, free-standing bottled systems and counter-top systems. These products are for both residential and commercial use. The following tests are required:

  1. Abnormal discharge and minimum water temperature
  2. Instant capacity for heater water
  3. Continuous capacity
  4. Contamination reduction testing for products that incorporate water treatment
  5. Material safety and lead content
  6. Installation and maintenance instructions

As water treatment products become more common in residential and commercial buildings, the 2021 UPC continues to set the bar for addressing new product consumer safety. The revisions to Section 611.1 of the UPC will help the building, plumbing and water treatment communities understand the applicable product standards required to comply with the code. The new standards that have been added to the code will allow companies a clear path for code-compliance for residential and commercial buildings. Water quality issues continue to surface around the county and the aging water infrastructure in the US continues to increase the demand for residential and commercial water treatment equipment. The IAPMO Group and ASSE International are committed to working with the water treatment industry to advocate solutions to the increasing list of water problems businesses and consumers are facing.

About the author
Thomas Palkon is IAPMO Research and Testing Executive Vice President of Water Systems and ASSE International Executive Director. He participates in many industry standard development activities. Palkon has a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana) and an MBA from Keller University. He can be reached at (708) 995-3006, tom.palkon@iapmort.org or tom.palkon@asse-plumbing.org.

UVC LED Questions and Answers

Friday, May 15th, 2020

By James Peterson

UVC LED disinfection is an increasingly popular solution over traditional methods of disinfection in a variety of industries, including healthcare, consumer appliances, food and beverage, and lab water. With UV light, disinfection is a physical process that employs ultraviolet radiation to inactivate microorganisms in water supplies, on surfaces and even in the air. UVC LEDs can be paired with filtration technology to provide a last-line of protection for water sources at the point of use. Because UVC LEDs with high power and the right UV wavelength provide longer device lifetime, there is an increased demand to learn more about their potential applications. The discussion below outlines more about the uses and benefits of UVC LEDs in disinfection today.

How do UVC LEDs actually work?
UVC LEDs are semiconductors similar to the LEDs that are now replacing the light bulbs in our homes. For ultraviolet disinfection applications, UVC LEDs in the 250- to 280-nm range are providing the same function as UV lamps, inactivating the DNA or RNA of microorganisms and making them unable to cause illness. DNA has a peak absorption of UV light at about 265 nm and, while UV lamps are effective at their wavelength of 253.7 nm, UVC LEDs manufactured to precisely match that 260- to 270-nm range are able to provide more disinfection with less UV energy for many microorganisms.

How do sanitizing and disinfecting differ in reference to systems with built-in UV treatment?
There are a number of water products coming out now with UVC LED sanitizing claims or UVC LED disinfection claims; these can mean drastically different things, depending on the system. Under Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definitions, sanitization is a process that will inactivate a portion of germs and disinfection for nearly 100 percent of germs. Some systems only use a low-power LED to sanitize a certain portion of a system (like a cooling tank), protecting that one area but not actually providing sufficient UV treatment to the water to significantly inactivate most microorganisms. Systems that provide effective UV treatment directly to flowing water will use higher-power UVC LEDs to inactivate microorganisms as they pass through a system, incorporating a properly designed UV chamber, to assure effective application of UV light. For system distributors assessing new systems, an easy way to identify this difference is reviewing laboratory reports at system flowrates or checking that the system is using at least 50mW of 250-nm to 280-nm UVC LED energy for every half gallon of flowrate. If a system cannot provide those assurances, it most likely is only sanitizing a portion of the system and not directly treating flowing water.

How can UV technology be used to treat particular viruses, bacteria and other pathogens in water, surface and airborne environments?
While UV is effective against all microorganisms, some organisms (such as spores) typically require higher doses of UV energy to inactivate. With UVC LEDs outside of the peak 260- to 270-nm range, even more UV energy is required. By selecting UV systems and vendors that use UVC LEDs in the peak-effectiveness range and have laboratory data against multiple organisms, distributors have the ability to provide direct assurance to their customers for treatment against particular organisms in which they have a priority concern.

Where in the treatment process should UV be placed?
UV treatment should always be the last treatment step in a system for two important reasons. The first is to provide the highest clarity of water for UV light transmission, as organics or other solids present in water can quickly reduce the effectiveness of UV treatment. The second is to assure that UV treatment acts as a barrier to inactivate the microorganisms that enter flowing water from fouling RO membranes and carbon filtration cartridges.

How does UVC LED technology stand out among other disinfection methods?
UVC LED technology provides a remarkable shift of the service lifetime and maintenance requirements of disinfection at the point of use, essentially becoming a durable component of water systems that can last for five to seven years. Alternatives like UV lamps, microbial filter cartridges or even chemical dosing pumps have never been able to offer users or service technicians such long windows of maintenance-free operation. POU end users typically benefit from this shift (in the long run) by securing UVC LED systems at no more than two times the initial capital cost of a conventional UV system, while achieving a three-to-four-times reduction of the total lifetime cost of the system due to reduced service and consumables costs. UVC LEDs also move water treatment into the realm of microelectronics, which allows devices to easily incorporate modern control features and power electronics with no thermal management requirements, using cost-effective and efficient components from the existing LED lighting and consumer electronics industries.

What are the unique disinfection needs in smaller commercial or residential systems?
The intermittent flow of residential and commercial applications frequently leads to an unpleasant experience with existing UV lamp systems. Users of UV lamp systems are familiar with the ‘hot shot’ of warmed water that comes out of the UV system when water has been idle in a hot UV lamp chamber with a lamp left on continuously. Automated bleed valve systems are available with temperature controllers to address this issue, but do increase the cost and complexity of the complete UV lamp system. Leaving the lamp on continuously also leads to annual replacement requirements, even if the system is only used rarely or seasonally. Some UVC LED systems are designed to directly eliminate those unpleasant aspects of ultraviolet solutions. By turning UVC LEDs on and off immediately, water heating is essentially eliminated and systems like these conserve their effective lifetime only for when dispensing is needed, eliminating the annual replacement need for POU systems. This ability to energize UVC LEDs when immediately needed also provides a drastic reduction in annual energy consumption for only POU, compared to UV lamp systems: greater than 80 percent in most cases.

What innovations should we expect to see emerge in the UV space over the next decade?
As power outputs continue to increase and costs continue to come down for highly effective 260- to 270-nm UVC LED devices, UVC LEDs will continue to replace current disinfection solutions used in water and also spread into new applications that previously found disinfection technologies too bulky or too costly to integrate. Flowrates of UVC LED systems are already increasing rapidly with portable, battery-powered UVC LED products that are giving consumers disinfection technology on-the-go. Appliances that previously did nothing to assure the hygiene of internal water are integrating UVC LEDs, all to provide users a promise of microbial hygiene, which is becoming paramount in our world today.

UVC LED technology can be implemented into the design of small and commercial water systems as a small-footprint, low-maintenance solution to ensure safe water quality. In light of the recent impacts of COVID-19 on public health, UVC light has been increasingly implemented across the globe. Depending on the application, UVC light, however, should always be used when the specific dosages and treatment times can be satisfied.

About the author
As Market Development Manager, Americas, James Peterson is responsible for the strategic direction of Crystal IS products focused on water markets. He develops business models for UVC emitters and ensures these product lines meet specific customer needs in water markets. Prior to Crystal IS, Peterson co-founded Vital Vio, a company that designs, engineers and manufactures LED lighting systems that reduce bacteria and other organisms from at-risk environmental surfaces.

About the company
Crystal IS, an Asahi Kasei company, is a manufacturer of high-performance UVC LEDs. The company’s products are suitable for monitoring, disinfection and sterilization in a variety of applications, including commercial and consumer POU water purification, as well as infection control in air and on surfaces in healthcare industries. For more information, visit cisuvc.com.

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