US EPA Warns Against the Use of Ozone for Odor Removal in Homes

Spartan Environmental Technologies, LLC periodically receives calls from home owners and commercial facilities that want to use ozone to control odor where people live and work. Spartan does not sell such ozone generators and recommends that they should not used based on advice from the US EPA. Below is an excerpt of an article on the US EPA web site discussing this topic. A link to the website is can be each here:

http://www.epa.gov/iaq/pubs/ozonegen.html

Spartan’s website also includes information on good and bad ozone in the environment.

US EPA Excerpt:

Introduction

Ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners intentionally produce the gas ozone. Often the vendors of ozone generators make statements and distribute material that lead the public to believe that these devices are always safe and effective in controlling indoor air pollution. For almost a century, health professionals have refuted these claims. The purpose of this document is to provide accurate information regarding the use of ozone-generating devices in indoor occupied spaces. This information is based on the most credible scientific evidence currently available.

Some vendors suggest that these devices have been approved by the federal government for use in occupied spaces. To the contrary, NO agency of the federal government has approved these devices for use in occupied spaces. Because of these claims, and because ozone can cause health problems at high concentrations, several federal government agencies have worked in consultation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to produce this public information document.

How is Ozone Harmful?

The same chemical properties that allow high concentrations of ozone to react with organic material outside the body give it the ability to react with similar organic material that makes up the body, and potentially cause harmful health consequences. When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs (see – “Ozone and Your Health” – www.epa.gov/airnow/brochure.html). Relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and, throat irritation. Ozone may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections. People vary widely in their susceptibility to ozone. Healthy people, as well as those with respiratory difficulty, can experience breathing problems when exposed to ozone. Exercise during exposure to ozone causes a greater amount of ozone to be inhaled, and increases the risk of harmful respiratory effects. Recovery from the harmful effects can occur following short-term exposure to low levels of ozone, but health effects may become more damaging and recovery less certain at higher levels or from longer exposures (US EPA, 1996a, 1996b).

Conclusions

Whether in its pure form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health.

When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation. It may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.

Some studies show that ozone concentrations produced by ozone generators can exceed health standards even when one follows manufacturer’s instructions.

Many factors affect ozone concentrations including the amount of ozone produced by the machine(s), the size of the indoor space, the amount of material in the room with which ozone reacts, the outdoor ozone concentration, and the amount of ventilation. These factors make it difficult to control the ozone concentration in all circumstances.

Available scientific evidence shows that, at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is generally ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution.
The concentration of ozone would have to greatly exceed health standards to be effective in removing most indoor air contaminants. In the process of reacting with chemicals indoors, ozone can produce other chemicals that themselves can be irritating and corrosive.

Recommendation

The public is advised to use proven methods of controlling indoor air pollution. These methods include eliminating or controlling pollutant sources, increasing outdoor air ventilation, and using proven methods of air cleaning.

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Advanced Oxidation Treats Contaminated Ground Water Near Tucson

For 25 years, TCE-polluted groundwater has been pumped for treatment from an old Air Force Plant near Tucson where chemicals were dumped by weapons-systems manufacturers from the 1940s until the 1970s. Discovered in 1981, the groundwater contamination remains at very high levels in areas of the 1,300-acre site. Some monitoring wells still show pollution at more than 10,000 parts per billion. TCE, also known as trichloroethylene, is a cancer-causing industrial solvent.

From 1987 to 2009, the Air Force was pumping out polluted groundwater in this area and running it through an air-stripping system to remove contaminants. In 2009, it switched to what’s known as advanced oxidation form of treatment, in which hydrogen peroxide and ozone are injected into pumped-out groundwater to destroy TCE, 1-4 dioxane and other toxic chemicals. Ozone peroxide is more effective and uses less energy than air stripping.

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Treatment of Land Fill Leachates with Ozone and Biological Processes

Land fill leachates are the result of water percolating through solid waste buried at the site. Land fill make provisions to capture this water for treatment. The waste can be a significant challenge to treat because of high content of organic matter, ammonia, salts and metals. Leachates vary due to a variety of factors including landfill age. New landfills produces leachates that are more biodegradable which are easier to treat. As the land fill ages biodegradability of the organic matter decreases. This means that treatment processes must include non biological treatment steps such as physical, and chemical process for older land fills.

At the recent International Ozone Association meeting a paper was presented on the use of ozone in combination with biological treatment (Ozone-Enhanced Biological Treatment of Landfill Leachates, Claudio Di Iaconi(1) , Antonio Lopez(1) and Achim Ried(2), 1 Water Research Institute, CNR, Bari, Italy; 2 ITT W&WW Herford, Germany). Normally to treat COD the ozone dose is typically between 2-3 mg Ozone per mg of COD. This can make the treatment process expensive. Ozone tends to make refractory organic compounds more biodegradable. Therefore, by pretreating the wastewater with ozone, the biological treatment process can assume a larger portion of the treatment burden. In addition, because ozone adds oxygen to the wastewater, the biological process is more efficient. the paper indicates that in some configurations the ozone demand is lowered to less than 0.7 mg Ozone per mg of COD.

Ozone is used in a similar manner for treatment of raw surface water to reduce organic levels in combination with biofiltration with GAC.

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Bay City, MI Fights Taste and Odor Problem in Drinking Water

Bay County has had a taste and odor issues with the drinking water supply. Bay City Water Treatment officials attribute the problem to higher than usual blue-green algae bloom in the Saginaw Bay. Officials said the water had a musty or dirty taste to it recently. While officials say the water has been treated and is safe to drink, some families have switched to bottled water.

Bay City supplies water to most of the county and gets its water from the inner bay. the city uses ozone to treat the drinking water. The staff has been working diligently for the past two weeks to eradicate taste and odor issues from the water. They are not seeing the taste and odor at the plant, but it will take a few days to change over the distribution water in the system.

People can expect to see more algae blooms, even in the Great Lakes, as more waste and other nutrients are released into the waters. That, combined with hot temperatures, can lead to more blooms. Increases in the blooms can overwhelm the existing treatment plants causing the taste and odor problems. Normally, ozone, as used in Bay city completely treat the taste and odor problems. Reducing nutrient load in lakes and reservoirs may be an additional step governments can take to better control these incidents.

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Bossier City Uses Ozone for Taste/Odor Control and Disifection

Public Utilities for Bossier City, LA uses ozone to improve water quality for its customers.

Water is pumped from the Red River to a reservoir and from the reservoir to a water treatment plant where it undergoes treatment. During the treatment process, ozone is added to the water twice in order to eliminate any unpleasant tastes or odors. Ozone is used widely around the US for taste and odor control. It is typically cheaper than alternative methods such as powdered activated carbon or UV/peroxide. It also does not require any addition of chemicals or disposal of spent carbon.

The ozone also inactivates any virus causing organisms that may be present. Ozone can kill a wide variety of micro organisms including one not treatable with chlorine. Once the treatment process is complete, the water is pumped to the distribution system, which handles up to 24 million gallons daily.

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Japan Ozone Association Meeting Holds 20th Annual Conference

Ozone News reported that the Japan Ozone Association held their 20th annual conference in Chiba, Japan in late June of this year. Forty two papers and 9 poster presentations were made. 160 people attended the meeting including engineers, researchers and managers from water treatment utilities and many other companies in the ozone industry as well as those from academia. the conference was sponsored by the Water Reuse promotion Center, Japan Water Works Association and the Japan industrial Water Association.

The topics covered in the conference included ozone generation, disinfection, drinking water purification, bromate formation, advanced oxidation among other topics.

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Improved Ozone System for Treating Cryptosporidium for Nevada Village

The Nevada State Board for Financing Water Projects voted Wednesday to loan the Incline Village General Improvement District $3 million for its water treatment project. Improvements include a much more efficient ozone treatment system at the Burnt Cedar Water Disinfection Plant. The new ozone system will cut the amount of oxygen used by as much as half, use nearly 20 percent less power and generate double the amount of ozone for treatment.

The new treatment equipment is designed to cryptosporidium, a germ that causes severe diarrhea and can survive even in chlorinated water.

The total cost of the project is $5,978,000. The project doesn’t increase capacity of the system, which processes 6,000 gallons of water a minute and has 6.6 million gallons of storage. The system serves about 9,300 people through some 3,700 residential and 416 commercial connections. Construction will be completed by March 2013.

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EPA Ballast Water Treatment Verification

Ozone News recently reported about the EPA ETV (Environmental Technology Verification) program for ballast water. the program does not approve or endorse technologies, but simply provides objective data on various technologies so stakeholders can evaluate the technologies themselves.

As noted in previous posts, there are concerns that ballast water may allow invasive species to move from one body of water to another via ships. Ozone has been proposed as one of the treatment technologies for this application because it is a well know and effective disinfecting agent.

The EPA program (www.epa.gov/etv) began in June 2011 with land based testing protocols. Sea based testing will follow. The protocol includes the organisms to be tested. For ozone based technologies brackish and non-brackish water must be tested.

The testing will take place at three testing centers: Great Ships Initiative (Superior, WI), maritime Environmental Resource Center (Chesapeake Bay, MD) and Golden Bear (San Francisco, CA).

The testing will include: biological treatment efficacy, O&M issues, cost factors, environmental acceptability and safety. the process must be able to treat 200 m3 in one hour.

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