Acoustic-Enhanced Ozone Drinking Water Disinfection

EPA Contract Number: 68D99059
Title: Acoustic-Enhanced Ozone Drinking Water Disinfection
Investigators: Mcgrath, Steven F.
Small Business: Montec Associates Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through March 1, 2000
Project Amount: $70,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)


Chlorine is used to treat nearly 90 percent of the drinking water in the United States. Although effective, its use gives rise to disinfection by-products that pose major health risks. Moreover, disease outbreaks from protozoan pathogens Giardia and Cryptosporidium have exacerbated the problem because increased dosages of disinfectant are required for oocyst inactivation. A solution is proposed that combines two technologies promising to provide an effective and safe alternative for disinfection of drinking water at a reduced cost. A low dosage of ozone is combined with an innovative technology that induces high-intensity, low-frequency acoustic energy into water. The objectives are to demonstrate the feasibility of combining ozone disinfection with low-frequency acoustics to effectively destroy the resistant spores of microorganisms at a significantly lower ozone dosage (lower cost) than required if ozone were used alone and to establish a fundamental understanding of the relationships between the operating parameters of the sonic reactor, dosage of ozone, and the deactivation of target microorganisms. The Phase I project establishes feasibility of the process, and provides the data needed to establish the basic process economics. In addition, this project will provide the engineering data needed for design of a pilot-scale reactor for proof-of-concept testing in Phase II.

The drinking water disinfection market during the next decade will be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Of the thousands of drinking water treatment plants in operation, approximately 90 percent use chlorine gas. By 2010, it is predicted that 50 percent of the systems will use water treatments other than chlorine. The new technologies vying for market share are ozone, ultraviolet, microfiltration, and combinations of the three. Montec's preliminary market survey, which includes opinions from municipal plants, water treatment system designers (for both large and small systems), and researchers, indicates that the best demonstrated available technology for drinking water treatment is ozone, and that this process is cost-competitive with other processes (e.g., ultraviolet, microfiltration, and standard chlorination methods). Consequently, a reduced-cost ozone market has significant market opportunity. Commercial applications range from large municipalities, who are treating hundreds of millions of gallons water per day, to rural communities that are treating thousands of gallons per day, and include skid-mounted units that could be used for emergency water supplies or even low-flow demand, permanent installations.

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, water treatment, engineering, chemistry, EPA., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Sustainable Industry/Business, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry, Technology for Sustainable Environment, New/Innovative technologies, Drinking Water, Engineering, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, monitoring, exposure and effects, protozoa, ozone, exposure, low frequency acoustics, cryptosporidium , treatment, innovative technology, DBP risk management, innovative technologies, drinking water treatment, Giardia, water treatment

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report