UV Water Treatment - Cryptosporidium Barrier

Cryptosporidium is a harmful protozoa that can cause severe illness and even death in some individuals. Fortunately, this chlorine-resistant parasite can be easily inactivated with a low UV dose.

The people most at risk are young children, pregnant women, and immunodeficient individuals. Once a person is infected, the parasites proliferate in the intestine and in some cases in the respiratory tract. The infection can last over two weeks and even longer for immunodeficient individuals. Cryptosporidiosis has become one of the most common waterborne diseases in the world.

In 1993, over 100 people died and over 400,000 developed gastro-intestinal illnesses as a result of a Cryptosporidium outbreak in the drinking water supply of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine, but has been shown to be effectively inactivated by a low dose of UV light - without producing any disinfection by-products (see the USEPA UV Disinfection Guidance Manual for more information). After the Milwaukee outbreak, many water treatment plants installed UV in order to meet the USEPA Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule since Cryptosporidium treatment was required.

Relative to other treatment technologies, such as ozonation and membrane filtration, UV offers a very cost effective solution for Cryptosporidium inactivation.

Examples of UV installations for Cryptosporidium treatment can be seen around the world. Small communities like Cudahy, Wisconsin and large cities like Metro Vancouver, British Columbia have taken steps to enhance the quality of their drinking water supply by adding a Cryptosporidium barrier.

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