Electrochemical disinfection, an environmentally acceptable method of drinking water disinfection?
In general, chlorination is the method of drinking water disinfection most favoured by the water industry. Occasional outbreaks of water transmitted disease, the identification of chlorine as a source of potentially harmful disinfection by-products, and the emergence of recalcitrant pathogens has led to heightened regulation for the removal of microbial pathogens and disinfection by-products from drinking water. As a result, research and development of alternative disinfection technologies has intensified. Electrochemical disinfection has emerged as one of the more feasible alternatives to chlorination. Research using a range of cell configurations has shown electrochemical disinfection to be effective against a range of pathogens. However, in many of the systems, disinfection efficacy appears to be related to the generation of chlorine species. The apparent prevalence of chlorine as the mechanism of disinfection begs the question as to whether electrochemical disinfection has an advantage over chlorination in terms of its inactivation efficacy and potential to form disinfection by-products. This paper reports on a series of experiments evaluating the disinfection efficacy of an electrochemical disinfection technology against Escherichia coli and bacteriophage MS2. The results of these experiments conclude that electrochemical disinfection can be effective without the generation of chlorine species.