How ClO2 can be used to Sterilize Potable Water Systems

28 Apr,2021 | Blog

Drinking water, if not sterilized properly, can be a source of pathogens causing various water-borne diseases such as cholera, hepatitis, polio, typhoid, diarrhea, and others. Traditionally, chlorine and UV rays are used to disinfect potable water but they are not always 100% successful. Besides, chlorine can leave a distinct taste and odor in the mouth and nostrils. This brings ClO2 or GO2™as a highly active chemical compound to disinfect drinking water. So, be it the local municipality supplying treated water or households sterilizing water received from a source, the powerful disinfectant agent of ClO2 can be highly effective.

Disadvantages of using Chlorine as a disinfectant for potable water system

The development of a safe water system started in the 1990s in South America by the Pan American Health Organization and the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Preparing the safe water system involved the use of dilute sodium hypochlorite solution followed by the safe storage of sterilized water. Even though chlorine is quite effective in inactivating most viruses, bacteria, and protozoa, it does not make potable water fully sterilized. At concentrations used in household water treatment, chlorine has a few drawbacks as mentioned below:

  • Provides less protection against protozoa
  • Less effective in sterilizing turbid waters
  • Contains distinct taste and odor
  • Treated water solution must be preserved properly
  • Causes long term effect of chlorination such as bronchitis and shortness of breath, among others

Similarly, UV rays used for drinking water purification have certain disadvantages as well.

  • Cannot work on turbid water and the water has to be pre-filtered
  • Cannot remove all pathogens and impurities
  • No option of installing a storage tank as the treated water needs to be discharged immediately

EPA approved Chlorine dioxide as an effective water disinfectant

On the other hand, chlorine dioxide, ClO2 or GO2™ can be an effective disinfectant thanks to its role as an oxidant. The dosage may vary based on the level of contamination and the source of water. As an oxidant and disinfectant, ClO2 has found its usage in purifying drinking water. Its distinct advantages over chlorine and effectiveness over a wide pH range have made it suitable to be used as a microbiocide, including in wastewater treatment in Buena Park.

Chlorine dioxide has been accepted as a disinfectant alternative to chlorine for the following reasons:

  • Does not produce bromates and trihalomethanes
  • Highly effective against most pathogens and can be reused
  • A more powerful oxidant than chlorine as its biocidal properties are not affected by pH
  • Can be preserved for a longer period and generated easily at the point of use
  • Non-reactive with most nitrogen compounds including ammonia and is effective at low doses than chlorine
  • Destroys cyanides, phenolics, iron and magnesium compounds, and sulfides through oxidation

How to use EPA approved GO2™ in sterilizing potable water systems

In most municipal-based water treatment systems to generate potable water a residual concentration of 2 ppm GO2™ is needed to ensure adequate disinfection. Thereafter, the residual disinfectant and disinfection byproducts need to be monitored in accordance with the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (40 CFR Part 141) and the State Drinking Water Standards. The maximum use of ClO2 or GO2™for potable water is 50mg/l. Chlorine dioxide reduces microbial population in potable water stored in lines, overhead tanks, and fountain drinks. It also cleans, removes organic matter, and eliminates odor. For 50 ppm, dilute the GO2™ concentrate of 4000 ppm or 1:80 (dilute 1 part GO2™ to 80 parts water).


Chlorine dioxide is a powerful disinfectant with a lot of germicidal properties. Its power of oxidation helps to remove unwanted pathogens from potable drinking water systems. It is a cost-effective, proven, easy-to-handle, and potent disinfectant to be used for purifying drinking water and also for wastewater treatment in Buena Park.

Tags: wastewater treatment, wastewater treatment in Buena Park