What are the pros and cons of UV water treatment when it comes to installation and CAPEX costs?

In this article we summarize the pros and cons of UV water treatment in terms of installation and CAPEX

An increasing number of water utilities choose to install UV systems as an additional security measure against microbiological contamination. The UV system will be in permanent operation but won’t have any effect on the water under normal operating conditions. In the case where microbiological contamination occurs, the UV system will prevent the contamination from spreading into the water grid and effecting end users.

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Pros and cons: considerations relating to CAPEX cost of UV systems

UV systems typically require investments ranging from $80 SGD to $200 SGD per 1000m3/year capacity. Hence, a UV system with a desired capacity of 2 million m3/year (app. 5500 m3/day) will require an initial investment of $160.000 SGD to $400.000 SGD. The CAPEX cost is highly dependent on the choice of UV lamps, desired UV effect, the UVT transmission of the water to be treated, and the desired degree of automatization. As with most water treatment systems, large installations are comparatively cheaper than smaller installations. In any case, UV-based disinfection is cost-effective in comparison to other disinfection methods.

Pros and cons: considerations relating to installation of UV systems

UV systems require relatively little floor space and can easily be integrated into existing water treatment facilities. It is important to remember that UV systems consist of more than just the UV aggregate; the floor space must – among others – also accommodate piping, valves, and measuring equipment.

UV systems with low-pressure lamps require substantially more floor in comparison to systems with medium-pressure lamps. This is due to the considerably higher UV effect of medium-pressure lamps.

That being said, low-pressure lamps enjoy lower energy consumption and better energy efficiency compared to medium-pressure lamps. In systems where the UV effect is adjustable, the energy consumption is further reduced. Low-pressure lamps have a higher lifespan and lower operating temperature, which can reduce scaling issues and, hence, the need for cleaning. On the other hand, UV systems based on medium-pressure lamps require fewer lamps, which makes installation easier in existing water treatment plants where the available floor space may be limited.

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