A study published by legionella.org has demonstrated improved efficacy in eradicating the risk of legionnaire’s disease in water systems through the application of chlorine dioxide.
Legionnella is a common organism that grows in sludges and slimes and is linked to legionnaire’s disease and Pontiac Fever. The Australian Government website health.gov.au states that rainwater tanks are potential sites of contamination in warmer Australian climates as temperatures inside water tanks reach between 25°C and 50°C+.
Chlorine dioxide (ClO2) is a stable free radical with an unpaired electron that creates a one electron transfer reaction when put into contact with organic and inorganic compounds. Sounds a bit like a science lesson here but this simply means the unpaired electron relocates to the entity it comes into contact with in a process called ‘electron transfer’; something that occurs in natural processes such photosynthesis.
The result of the electron transfer is that the organic material that ClO2 comes into contact with, such as legionella, are killed off through a natural process.
Better yet the fact that ClO2 is an environmentally sound water treatment and, where other treatments such as chlorine left higher traces in the treated water, ClO2 tests resulted in safe residual levels well below the maximum accepted levels.
Another great benefit to using ClO2 when treating water systems is that, unlike chlorine it is non-corrosive. Whilst chlorine is just as effective as ClO2 in eradicating legionella from water systems it also causes damage, corroding pipes and increases the risk of damage to plant and equipment that the water may be applied to where residual chlorine levels are high. This is another reason why ClO2 is being utilised more in industries such as mining, oil and gas.
What this study has demonstrated is that for a clean, effective means of treating water systems for harmful bacteria such as legionella, ClO2 is just as effective as other, more toxic methods with less impact on the environment. For these reasons we are seeing an increase of use of ClO2 in a range of industries – not only does it provide clean, safe drinking water for staff it also provides cleaner, less corrosive water for use with plant and equipment.