Ultraviolet Water Purification
Water. It is one of the most abundant yet most precious resources on the planet. Without water, life simply could not exist. And yet finding clean, drinkable water is not always as easy as it may sound. Most filtration methods and other treatments intended to make drinking water safe either take a lot of time, use a lot of energy, or involve chemicals that give your water an unpleasant odor or scent.
Fortunately for those of you concerned with what you put into your bodies and the methods used to obtain it, there is a relatively safe and effective means of obtaining safe drinking water: ultraviolet water purification. This process uses waves of ultraviolet light intensely concentrated on a flow chamber, through which water passes, to kill microscopic organisms like bacteria and viruses.
It is surprising to see just how effective these invisible waves of light are at killing microbes; there is not a known microbe that can survive a properly functioning ultraviolet water purification system. These systems work by disassembling DNA, which serves as the building blocks for all life. In other words, no living thing has a chance of surviving if your system is properly maintained.
A system that is built to destroy DNA may sound frightening, but, as mentioned above, this system is entirely safe. It does not add anything to your water or change its chemical composition in any way. Ultraviolet water purification systems offer completely microbe-free water without the use of harsh chemicals like chlorine.
This is not to say that these systems are without their flaws. For example, ultraviolet water purification will only remove living things from your water, not dirt or chemicals. For this reason, UV systems are typically used in conjunction with some kind of filtration system. It is usually best to pass water through your UV system after passing it through your filtration system, rather than vice versa. Doing so will make sure that floating sediment does not obstruct the UV rays from reaching bacteria.
Since UV rays are not visible to the human eye, it would be difficult to tell whether the water you are treating is too cloudy or if your system is even emitting UV rays simply by looking at it. For this reason, it is a good idea to make sure you change your UV bulb at least once per year and keep up with regular maintenance.
While ultraviolet water purification requires very little energy (about as much as a light bulb), its need for electricity and its other limitations make it a poor candidate for a method of emergency water purification. Hauling an electric generator through the wilderness can be a hassle, and in many residential emergency situations you could be left without electricity, and therefore without clean water to drink.
Nonetheless, if you live in an area where acquiring clean water that does not stink and taste of chemicals is a concern of yours, a UV filtration system might be right for you. Available models range from $200 to more than $1300, depending on the quality and productivity of the particular model. Before deciding on a model to purchase, it is important that you do some research and determine your needs and which models meet them.