The Water Blog Frequently Asked Questions about Wyckomar UV Systems

Should I Use a UV Monitoring System?

Posted on April 21, 2013

blogimage UV Monitor

A UV monitoring system is used as part of a UV water treatment system to kill bacterial and viral pathogens in drinking water for both residential and commercial/industrial applications.

In a typical UV water treatment system the UV lamp is on 24/7 and very slowly diminishes in power over the course of the lifespan of the UV lamp (generally 1 year at which time the UV lamp must be replaced).

As part of a complete UV water treatment system, the UV Monitor consists of a UV sensor which constantly "looks at" the UV lamp to make sure it is on, and a visual display to indicate to the user that the UV lamp is working properly. The purpose of the UV Monitor therefore is to give a visual clue that the UV system is functioning as intended and that enough UV is being applied to the water to ensure safe drinking water

The efficiency of any UV water treatment system can be affected by water quality factors including "cloudy" water and "hard" water. It's important to remember that UV disinfection works by shining UV germicidal light through the water stream, and it's the amount of UV light that is applied which determines if the water is suitably disinfected or not. Therefore the "clearer" the water is, the more UV light can penetrate the water stream, and the more efficient is the UV disinfection.

Using a UV monitor can offer several benefits to a UV system owner. As noted already, the UV Monitor will monitor the status of the UV lamp in real-time on a constant basis all-day, every-day. If for any reason the UV lamp fails the UV Monitor will go into alarm mode (as will the UV purifier itself). In alarm mode the UV Monitor will indicate (by the visual display) that there is inadequate UV penetration into the water stream to ensure proper disinfection and it will also sound an audible alarm to call your attention to the problem.

The UV monitor may also be configured with a solenoid valve in any UV water treatment system. When the UV Monitor goes into alarm mode (less than adequate UV is being applied) the Monitor will close the solenoid valve thereby stopping the flow of water completely. This is considered as a fail-safe operation because the problem will be noticed immediately and no contaminated water will pass through a non-functioning treatment system.

You now can see that a UV Monitor can be an important part of a UV water treatment system because of it's ability to provide a fail-safe mode operation in case of the failure of the water treatment system (such as in a power failure situation). The UV Monitor however has another valuable function and can operate as a proxy for real time water quality monitoring. Because the UV Monitor "watches" the UV lamp on a 24/7 basis, and then indicates on the display the efficiency of UV penetration through the water stream, one may also consider that this function is acting as something akin to a real-time water quality analyzer with respect to water clarity.

You'll recall that water clarity is of chief importance to the proper functioning of a UV water treatment system. The UV Monitor can, as part of it's normal functioning, give indications of whether or not the quality of the source water is changing (is it getting worse or better). In case the water quality is deteriorating the UV Monitor will indicate a progressively lower UV penetration through the water stream, and the Monitor will go into alarm mode if the UV penetration drops below a certain pre-set amount. Advanced knowledge of changing water quality conditions may help the UV system owner in selecting additional filtration and pre-treatment equipment.

A UV Monitoring system is not specifically required to successfully operate a UV water treatment system, however in locations with questionable source water quality, and in applications where proper UV disinfection is "mission critical", adding a UV Monitor to the system can be well worthwhile.

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