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In nature, ozone occurs during thunderstorms, when electricity causes oxygen molecules to become excited and bind together. WaterOne will be using the same process to produce ozone for use in its water treatment. Drinking water that has been treated with ozone is completely safe. The only chemical by-product of ozone is oxygen, which dissipates on its own during the treatment process.
Ozone is produced on-site for water treatment using ozone generators, which use high voltage electricity to excite oxygen (O2) into becoming ozone (O3). After generation, the ozone is introduced into a pipeline contactor. During its time in the pipeline, the ozone works to destroy viruses and bacteria while breaking down taste and odor compounds. The ozone-treated water then continues through the remaining steps of the treatment process.
Besides being an improved treatment method for substances in the source water like bacteria, viruses, pharmaceuticals, and taste and odor compounds, the ozone treatment process is more efficient and cost-effective. Conventional water treatment methods rely on costly chemical additives, and WaterOne gets better value from ratepayer dollars by replacing these methods with ozone water treatment.
WaterOne's top priority is to protect the health and safety of our customers using the best resources available. As water treatment technology becomes more innovative, regulations for drinking water quality can also get more restrictive, and ozone water treatment will allow WaterOne to proactively meet future drinking water regulations. The plant will also allow WaterOne to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, and is projected to pay for itself within 20 years due to reduced operating expenses.
Ozone water treatment methods were developed throughout the 20th century, and ozone is now widely used to treat water in the US and internationally. Several ozone treatment facilities are currently in operation in Kansas, although the facility at WaterOne will be the largest in the state.
Ozone is more effective at treating taste and odor compounds in our source water. While WaterOne's tap water is completely safe, seasonal conditions in the Kansas and Missouri river can sometimes cause variances in the taste of the water. Ozone treatment will help WaterOne deliver delicious, consistent-tasting tap water all year long.
No rate increase is required because of this project. WaterOne maintains a planning horizon of 40 years, and major infrastructure projects are carefully funded according to long-term budget planning in order to avoid reactive rate increases. The construction of ozone treatment facilities is projected to pay for itself within 20 years due to cost savings as a result of a more-efficient water treatment process.