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M A Survey of Water Hazards and Water Treatment Methods - Part 6: Ultra-Violet Light Methods

by Roger Caffin, with help from Will Rietveld, Ray Estrella and Rick Dreher

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Article Summary:

This is a commercial UV treatment plant. You might think (as I did initially) that it would not be possible to make such a thing portable for walkers, but in fact, several companies have done it. There are, for instance, units by Meridian Design (or Aquastar), Camelbak and by Steripen (also known as Hydro-Photon). Each of these claims more than full compliance with the EPA requirements. Each of them has packaged up a miniature switch-mode power supply with a miniature Phillips germicidal UV lamp. Each company has EPA registration as a maker of UV devices (as far as I know) but they do not have EPA 'approval' for the devices themselves as the EPA does not (again, as far as I know) issue approvals for this sort of product. The lack of control over just how the user will use the device may have something to do with this.

However, while the EPA does not 'approve' the devices themselves, they certainly do approve the UV treatment process. It is effective against viruses, bacteria and protozoa, and some other biological agents as well. Obviously, it isn't going to do much for dirt or simple chemicals, and too much suspended matter may block the UV from working very well. You can read the formal EPA Guidance document (a lengthy PDF) on UV treatment yourself.

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