Comparative analysis between the chlorination and ultraviolet radiation methods for the disinfection of bacteria-contaminated water

  • Barbara Santos Ritt Mestrado Profissional em Engenharia Química. Universidade de Uberaba (UNIUBE), Avenida Nenê Sabino, n° 1801, CEP: 38055-500, Uberaba, MG, Brazil.
  • André Luís Teixeira Fernandes Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa, Pós Graduação e Extensão. Universidade de Uberaba (UNIUBE), Avenida Nenê Sabino, n° 1801, CEP: 38055-505, Uberaba, MG, Brazil.
  • Geraldo Thedei Júnior Programa de Mestrado Acadêmico em Odontologia. Universidade de Uberaba (UNIUBE), Avenida Nenê Sabino, n° 1801, CEP: 38055-505, Uberaba, MG, Brazil.
Keywords: bacteria inactivation, chlorine, UV light, water treatment.


The quality of water for human consumption has been a concern for large organizations and researchers, since the disinfection process, a step of great importance in water treatment plants, has not achieved its proper purpose. There have been frequent reports of the ineffectiveness of bacteria inactivation by the use of chlorine, which is the most used in Brazil, and also due to the formation of by-products such as trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids that are considered toxic to human health. The method of disinfection by ultraviolet radiation (UV) has been widely explored, due to its effectiveness in inactivating a wide variety of pathogens, in addition to the absence of by-product formation. The combined chlorine+UV process as chemical and physical disinfectants, respectively, is complementary and essential when looking for the safety of water for human consumption. The objective of this research was to statistically analyze the performance of disinfectants, chlorine and UV radiation, both separately and together, by inactivating the bacteria Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa and then incubating for 48 hours after having received the treatments. The statistical method showed that chlorine and UV obtained the same significance of 100% bacteria inactivation, and that within the determined time of 48 hours after the treatments the bacteria did not show reactivation. Thus, the study affirmed the usefulness of applying UV radiation as a complement to systems that use chlorine, with a special focus on residential water systems and supply.