Whole house ozone water system?

by Dominic

Hello, I am considering purchasing a whole home ozone water treatment system. Before I call to inquire with the company, I have been reading up to help understand better how it works. The company is Aclarus.

We have had our well water tested and it is safe (they say), but for the most part it has a bad smell which has been called organic. We currently have a salt water system, uv light, sediment-carbon and iron filters. The smell gets so bad we hate to even turn on the tap some days.

From what I've read, this Aclarus system will solve all our problems. One of the questions I will have for them is, what is the ozone concentration once the water gets to a glass?

Does anyone have any knowledge or input on whole home system they can share?

Nancy’s response:

I have not personally used an ozone whole house system, but what I do know from my research is that ozone is a gas that acts as a powerful oxidant and disinfectant.

In addition, ozone is unmatched as a deodorizer, and this is scientifically verified.

I also know ozone’s deodorizing effect from personal experience with an ozone sanitizing feature on my home air filter system. I normally don’t using this option for daily use because breathing in ozonated air is potentially harmful.

However, the ozone in air dissipates fairly quickly (once it sanitizes), so it can be used for specific purposes. For example, I recently had my shower remodeled and the waterproofing substance the installer used was quite toxic and the smell was unbearable.

So, as soon as the installer left, I put on a mask and put my portable air filter in the bathroom, turned on the ozone sanitizer for 2 hours, and shut the door.

I waited another 2-3 hours to let the ozone dissipate and when I opened the door, the odor was almost completely gone. I was amazed. I am sure the odor would have lasted for days if I had not used the ozone air filter.

As far as ozone water treatment for well water, there is no question that ozone is a powerful anti-microbial agent.

When there is a sufficient amount of ozone in water, the ozone will oxidize organic material in bacterial membranes, weaken and rupture the cell wall, leading to death of the organism. Ozone also diffuses through the membrane of viruses and damages its RNA or DNA.

Even though ozone quickly dissipates in air, it retains its strong oxidizing capacity in water, which makes it viable for water disinfection and sterilization, according to “Ozone, Pharmaceutical Sterilant of the Future” by Bill Burley, University of Tennessee. (reference below)

The bad taste and odor sometimes found in well water usually comes from high levels of iron and sulfur. Ozone treated water is proven to oxidize and remove contaminants such as iron, sulfur and manganese.

Thus, for what you need, the Aclarus ozone well water system may be the best solution.

As far as potential negatives, one of the main reasons the whole house ozone water system is not one of the top recommendations on my website (up to this point) is because I still have yet to find any ozone water treatment companies that provide third-party testing for contaminant removal on their systems.

I checked the Aclarus website and the only thing I see is a study that Aclarus did in conjunction with McGilll University, which is ok but not really considered objective third party.

In any case, this study states that in addition to the high levels of disinfection, the ozonation from the Aclarus water system also removed over 87% Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs), such as pharmaceuticals, illicit drugs, pesticides, and other chemicals. So that is a good thing. These are the types of environmental contaminants that are being found in higher and higher levels in groundwater.

The other types of contaminants you need to be aware of and possibly ask the company about are lead, chromium and arsenic.

According to the study referenced below, ozone does oxidize and remove certain compounds, including arsenic, detergents, ammonia, sulfides, chlorine and its derivatives, nitrates, PCBs, and Trihalomethanes (THMs).

However, my understanding is that these types of contaminants require a much higher concentration of ozone in water than the amount of ozone that is effective for killing microbials.

And again, without having third-party testing done to verify removal of all of these harmful contaminants, it’s hard to know the effectiveness of any given ozone water system.

The same study doesn’t mention lead or chromium, so you might check your water quality tests regularly for lead, arsenic and chromium levels, which are known carcinogens. If you find the levels are above normal at any point, you could add additional filtration at the point of use (your drinking water faucet) for minimal expense ($30+).

Anyway, I hope this information will help somewhat with your discussion with Aclarus . . .

And I hope you will come back and give us your review of the ozone water system if you decide to purchase it.

Side note for readers regarding whole house ozone water systems for tap water:

One of the best things about having well water is that you don’t have to worry about municipal water treatment additives, such as chlorine and fluoride, which have long-term health risks.

Since ozone water systems are not as effective as multi-stage water filtration systems at removing these types of contaminants, I don’t believe the ozone system is the best option for tap water filtration.

There are a few cities in the U.S. that use ozone water treatment for disinfection instead of chlorine. My hope is that all municipal water treatment plants will eventually use ozone.

The primary reason chlorine is used for disinfection is because it is the cheapest—but ozone disinfection is safer and more effective.

Nancy Hearn, CNC
Water Benefits Health

Key Reference:

An Explanation of Ozone and Its Uses, Complete with Scientific and Technical References and Selected Biography; 1995.

Return to Ozonated Drinking Water Debate.

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