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Understanding Ozone - The Natural Way to Purify Air & Water©

Applying ozone (O3) to the wash formula, the waste water stream and the pre-treatment system, can reduce operating hours, chemical, water and energy costs. In the last installment of this three-part series we’ll be taking a look at some ozone success stories and the benefits of using ozone in the waste stream and water reuse system.

Ozone’s Successful Results
The results of work accomplished at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, indicate many benefits from ozone applications as a water treatment replacing conventional chemical treatment for Cooling Towers. The results at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, considered most reliable for a three-year period test, are most favorable in the use of ozone in place of conventional chemical treatment.

The various sizes of the towers were 75 tons, 250 tons & 350 tons. The conclusions were:

a) Ozone was an effective treatment.
b) Cooling Tower drift was environmentally acceptable.
c) Chemicals eliminated that caused environmental contamination.
d) Removed & prevented scaling deposition. Precipitated out calcium and other metallic ions as a fine sandy deposit.
e) Metal surfaces were passivated to inhibit corrosion.

The ozone treatment was not considered as a dangerous poison because it could be easily detected by smell at very low concentrations, (5, 6, 7)

The U.S. Army at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal is decontaminating this 17,000 acre facility of munitions chemicals, pesticides, a variety of VOC's as well as di-isopropylmethylphosphonate (DIMP) an intermediate product of chemical manufacturing. This process, at a much lower cost than the usual processes, utilizes a combination of OZONE and Hydrogen Peroxide as a variation of advanced chemical oxidation to generate hydroxyl radicals which degrade contaminants. Iron, Manganese, Cyanide and other soluble soils are either broken down to nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide or other components and dissipated. Contaminants are also made insoluble for easy removal by other methods. (8, 9)

The laboratory study of Ozone Washing by Jack A. Turner (10) revealed other aspects of ozone washing that I have professed for many years. I am a firm believer in a process of washing the fabric clean and then treating the wash liquor as a separate entity. When ozone is used in the wash wheel whether it is from an ozone saturated water supply or by injecting the ozone directly in to the wash wheel to effect soil removal, you run the risk of fabric damage, equipment damage and off gassing of the ozone. Ozone in direct contact with the fabric, whether it is natural or synthetic, has a detrimental impact on the break strength of the fiber. (10) This process was used in the 1980’s to get a stone washed effect on blue jeans without the use of stones.

A good wash formula using regular wash techniques of saponification, lubrication, emulsification, suspension, flocculation and bleaching will remove the soil from the fabric resulting in good stain removal. The wash chemistry, after accomplishing the above tasks, keeps the soil in suspension for removal by dilution. The ozone takes care of disinfection while assisting in the normal wash chemistry.

Ozone Benefits in the Waste Stream and Water Reuse Systems
The benefit of ozone in the wash does not stop at the drain. Ozone can be very beneficial in the waste stream and water reuse system. The high oxidation capacity of ozone aids in the process of coagulation, flocculation and filtration. It attacks soil and decomposes much of it to air, water and carbon dioxide. Ozone bleaches out color and removes odor. It makes some soil insoluble for easy removal, drops out some metals, reduces BOD, COD, TSS, total organic carbon along with many other compounds found in the waste stream or equalization tank.

The mechanics of installation of an ozone system appears to be quite simple. Many people are fooled by the process. An understanding of ozone and how it works in the washroom is very important to having a successful operation. The balance of ozone volume and concentration or intensity applied properly to the wash formula is critical. The total operation and understanding of soil classification, wash formula, wash chemistry and the effects that all of this has on the wash and effluent system of the plant determines the payback and level of aid to complying with environmental regulations. The right tool in the wrong hands does not help the bottom line.

Ozone, though it's been around since the 1870's, is still in its infancy. A lot of research is presently going on with ozone applications in many differing fields of service. Ozone, as one of the building blocks of a comprehensive treatment system enhances your laundry operation, provides air and drinking water purification along with other multiple benefits that do not require continuous operator monitoring.

To stay competitive in today's market, you must work within theenvironmental laws. You must remain flexible in your approach to meet the changing demands while providing a good quality product, reliable servicefrom a profitable operation. Ozone, when applied properly, can be a helpful tool to meet these commitments.

Jack J. Reiff is president of J. Reiff Consulting, Inc., doing business as WET - TECH, The Ozone People. A Washroom Technology Company specializing in washroom chemistry, water, water Reuse, Waste water & OZONE Treatment Systems, WET-TECH is based in Worcester Ma. He can be reached at or # 508-831-4229.


  1. NASA Briefs - "Ozone Treatment for Cooling Towers" - NASA Technical Support Package NASA Briefs KSC-11384
  2. H. Banks Edwards - "Ozone: An Alternative Method for Treating Cooling Tower Water". Journal of Cooling Tower Institute 2/87
  3. Dennis Kelly - "Ozone & Cooling Tower Treatment". Water Conditioning and Purification 8/93
  4. Editorial comment - "Cost effective Chemical Oxidation without UV" Environmental Technology 4/93
  5. Sheng H. Lin/Kuo L. Yeh - "Looking to Treat Waste Water? Try Ozone" Chemical Engineering 5/93
  6. Jack A. Turner - "Lab Study of Ozone Washing shows mixed results" Textile Rental 4/96
  7. Jack J. Reiff – “Ozone Puts The Washroom On A Diet” Textile Rental 6/95
  8. Jack J. Reiff – “Putting Ozone to Work In The Wash Cycle” Industrial Launderer 8/96

Quick Rinse - News From Around The World

Ecolab Acquires Dober Chemical’S Textile Care Business

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Ecolab Inc. a leader in cleaning, sanitizing, food safety and infection prevention products and services announced it has purchased the commercial laundry division of Dober Chemical Corporation. The acquisition includes Dober’s laundry chemical and waste water treatment and Ultrax dispensing businesses as well as an exclusive partnership to market and provide key components of its Spindle monitoring software.

“Dober is respected throughout the industry for its innovative monitoring technology, product chemistry and commitment to service – qualities that complement our own strengths at Ecolab,” said Brian Henke, vice president and general manager, Ecolab Textile Care North America. “As we expand our North American commercial laundry business, innovation and service excellence will continue to be our top priority as we partner with our customers to deliver unsurpassed value to run their operations more efficiently, sustainably and cost effectively.”

“Ecolab and Dober share the same customercentric approach to service and innovative technology,” said John Dobrez, president Dober Chemical Corp. “This is an exciting development because it builds on the strengths of both companies to move the industry forward.”

Through this agreement, Spindle Technologies,a division of Dober, is forming a strategic alliance with Ecolab Textile Care in an exclusive licensing agreement for its ChemWatch Software technology and the OPTRAX Utility Module.

“There will be no movement of people as they currently all operate remotely,” said Henke. “The Dober leadership team is very skilled and respected in the industry. We plan to have them as part of the team moving forward. During the transition, both businesses will operate as usual and we do not expect there to be any changes in the service the customers are used to receiving.”