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UV Disinfection Fact Sheet

In the late 20th century, the identification of more resilient pathogens in source waters became a growing concern for water treatment facilities across the United States. After careful consideration and discussions with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the Cedar Rapids Water Division decided to adopt Ultraviolet light or UV as an additional barrier in our disinfection system. UV Disinfection effectively neutralizes the pathogens that are difficult to eliminate using traditional methods. Although these pathogens are rare, it was necessary to enhance the flexibility of our water treatment process in order to fulfill our commitment to deliver safe, clean water to people’s homes.

How UV works
Ultraviolet light is a form of light that is invisible to the human eye. Specific wavelengths, between 100 and 280 nanometers (or billionths of a meter) are categorized as germicidal – meaning they kill bacteria and viruses.

Microorganisms in the water are exposed to ultraviolet light when they pass by special lamps. The UV energy instantly damages the genetic material (DNA) within the organisms. Unable to reproduce, the microorganisms no longer pose a health risk.

UV technology is highly effective against bacteria, including streptococcus and cholera; viruses including Hepatitis A, Polio, and Rotavirus; and Protozoa including Cryptosporidium and Giardia.

Why make this investment?
The Cedar Rapids Water Division is committed to delivering clean, safe water to Cedar Rapids’ homes now and into the future. The addition of Ultra-Violet Light Disinfection to our existing water treatment process allows the Cedar Rapids Water Division to effectively address our customers’ needs for many years to come.

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