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Water purifier to reduce the spread of infection

In Sweden, we trust that the water from our taps will be clean; however, this is not always the case. RISE is working with water purification specialist Watersprint to develop products that prevent the spread of bacteria via water taps.

When water fails to reach a sufficiently high temperature or sits still in pipes, there is always a risk that hazardous microorganisms will grow. In this way, legionnaires’ disease and other bacteria can spread via shower heads and taps. In order to prevent this from happening, Watersprint has developed a variety of water purifiers based on ultraviolet light technology. RISE is participating in the development of two of these products and has conducted independent testing, primarily focused on how successfully the equipment reduces various levels of legionnaires’ disease.

“Infection often strikes those with an immunodeficiency and these products are intended for use in environments such as residential homes for the elderly and public swimming baths. Although the main focus of the tests conducted by RISE has been legionnaires’ disease, the equipment also reduces instances of other bacteria such as E. coli that may be found in water,” says Birgitta Bergström, microbiologist and senior project manager at RISE Agrifood and Bioscience.  

Fitted beside the tap

The equipment, in the form of a 25 centimetre-long pipe, is fitted beside the tap from which the water comes and uses nanotechnology and LED-generated UVC disinfection to kill the microorganisms.

“RISE has conducted tests in which the equipment was connected in our laboratory and we have measured levels of various bacteria, as well as water flow. We have agreed with Watersprint that we will conduct further tests,” says Birgitta Bergström.

The UV technology used to purify water often contains mercury; the technology used here however is free from hazardous chemicals.

“If one looks at how many countries rely on large amounts of chemicals for water purification, it is apparent that chemical-free techniques such as this one will be useful in future. The LED technology in question is also environmentally certified for its economic and energy savings,” concludes Birgitta Bergström.