Ozone generator test protocol debated

Dear Editor:

I spoke with Joe Harrison, Water Quality Association technical director, and there was clearly a misunderstanding between WQA staff and a competing trade journal for the POU/POE market on the WQA Ozone Task Force objectives for producing ozone standards with regard to a recent article the journal published.

Mr. Harrison confirmed the WQA, through its Ozone Task Force, supports development of an ozone generator performance test protocol, to allow ozone generator performance verification by accredited testing firms and issuance of the WQA Gold Seal. However, the WQA does not plan to create a standard specifically for ozone generation equipment.

As a bit of background, the WQA determined several years ago, through member feedback, that there was insufficient technical information available for its members to employ ozone correctly and with confidence in markets they serve. Therefore, the Ozone Task Force was formed in 1993 under the WQA Science Advisory Committee. Simply stated, the objective of the task force is to educate WQA membership on benefits and proper use of ozone in water treatment applications in which WQA membership participates. More specifically, the focus is on residential point-of-use (POU), point-of-entry (POE) and small municipal water treatment applications.

One of the issues creating a confidence crisis was and still is ozone generator performance ratings and lack of “third-party” verification of performance claims. WQA dealers weren’t confident they could properly apply ozone to accomplish treatment goals as most vendors offered insufficient performance information. Customer dissatisfaction from under-performance of many installations resulted from a lack of detailed ozone generator performance specifications. The resulting “black eye” for ozone slowed its use as a valuable tool to meet market needs.

The WQA has sponsored and supported development and use of product performance test protocols for many years. In 1996, thus, the task force created “A Testing Methodology Guideline for Performance Measurement of Ozone Generators…” for use by ozone generator manufacturers. Only a few manufacturers chose to test their generators and present product literature and technical data using this guideline because it was voluntary and some considered it an unnecessary added expense.

After a few years evaluating the voluntary response, the Ozone Task Force determined a stronger position was needed to educate and build confidence by leveling the playing field. Thus, it was recommended the test guideline be expanded to an Ozone Test Protocol (standard) that could employ a third-party testing firm to verify advertised product performance. Performance verification under this test protocol was viewed as a marketing advantage for ozone generator manufacturers through product differentiation. More recently, NSF International has agreed to take on this project as a third-party, standards-writing organization and to register the protocol with the American National Standards Institute. These are developments long overdue but welcome by the industry and water treatment professionals in the field.

Paul K. Overbeck, President
GDT Water Process Corp.


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