Community will become only the second in North America to use hydrogen peroxide as a secondary water treatment
By Debora Van Brenk, The London Free Press
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Glencoe-area residents will soon be drinking water cleaned with a process similar to the kind used in some dental offices.
The community will become only the second in North America to use a proprietary system called Huwa-San Peroxide Technology as a secondary water treatment, instead of chlorine water disinfection.
The benefits, says Southwest Middlesex Mayor Doug Reycraft, include cleaner, safer and better-tasting water.
“This is new and has the potential to be used in many parts of the province,” Reycraft said. “What happens here is likely to be the prototype for other water systems in other areas of Ontario.”
It’s new here but not completely untried.
This specific technology, developed in Belgium, is used in Europe in hospitals and other closed systems that require ultra-high water quality, said Andy Valickis, engineer and senior project manager with the Ontario Clean Water Agency, which also operates the Southwest Middlesex water treatment facility.
It’s also been in use since November in the small eastern Ontario community of Killaloe, under approval from the Ontario Environment Ministry.
Valickis has high hopes and expectations of the technology.
“It’s a much more natural substance than chlorine is to the body so we think it’s a safer product to use.”
After its use shows success in Glencoe, interest will surge elsewhere in other large and small Ontario municipalities, he predicts. “I think it will be applicable to all systems.”
In the Southwest Middlesex communities of Glencoe, Melbourne and Bothwell as well as in Newbury, drinking water will first be treated with chlorine after it leaves Lake Erie. Then it will be treated again with low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide at the Glencoe reservoir, instead of the current chlorine treatment there.
In Killaloe, results have been “excellent”, and within a day of starting to use the stabilized hydrogen peroxide, the restaurant owner there said his customers noted how much better the coffee tasted, Valickis said.
Proprietor SanEcoTec says in its promotional material that the hydrogen peroxide is health- and eco-friendly. The formulation they use was first developed for dentists as part of their drilling equipment to keep patients’ mouths’ clean of bacteria.
It has been used successfully to combat E-coli and Legionella in institutions, and also for irrigation and providing clean water to livestock.
Farmers also use hydrogen peroxide in greenhouses for hydroponic cleanliness and some use it in water wells as one-time disinfectants.
On a smaller scale, parents have for years used hydrogen peroxide, at much higher concentrations than this, to clean children’s cuts and scrapes.
It’s also used, again at considerably higher concentrations, as a household disinfectant and hair lightener.
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CHLORINE VERSUS HUWA-SAN METHOD
- Chlorine has been used almost exclusively for large drinking-water systems for more than 100 years.
- Beyond the distinctive taste and smell of chlorine in water, its chemical byproducts include trihalomethane (THM), which is believed to be a carcinogen in high enough concentrations.
- The longer amount of time chlorine is in water, the more THM can form. In the far reaches of the Southwest Middlesex system, THM has been detected in safe, but higher-than-desired, levels. There’s a belief the Environment Ministry may soon reduce the allowable concentrations of THM in water, which makes new technologies more desirable than ever.
- Huwa-San Peroxide Technology, a stabilized formulation of hydrogen peroxide, has no similar byproducts as it cleans the water. It also reduces a build-up of bio film, the slimy thin coating that grows inside pipes from micro-organisms resistant to chlorine.