Ozone (O3) is an unstable compound generated by the exposure of
oxygen molecules (O2) to ultraviolet radiation or a high
energy electrical discharge. The weak bond holding ozone's third oxygen atom is what causes the molecule to be unstable
and, thus, very effective. Because of this instability, an oxidation reaction
occurs upon any collision between an ozone molecule and a molecule of an oxidizable substance such as
certain forms of iron and manganese or organic molecules (bacteria, viruses, and some plastics
and rubbers). In an oxidation reaction energy is transferred to the ozone molecule,
leaving a stable oxygen molecule (O2) and a highly unstable oxygen atom (O1). The
molecule being oxidized then bonds with the loose O1 atom, creating an oxide of the
substance. Dissolved metals oxidize and are no longer soluble. The structure of an organic
molecule is changed by oxidation, which often causes the whole molecule to come apart (with some help from
other ozone reactions). Bacteria and virus cells are literally split apart by ozone.
Transfer of ozone into the water is
critical for effective disinfections of mikveh water. Only
dissolved ozone is able to oxidize contaminants in the water.
Non-dissolved ozone off-gases to the surface and is lost. One
of the most effective means of introducing ozone into a water stream
is by use of a Venturi injector. The Venturi uses the water
stream to produce a vacuum. Ozone-containing gas is drawn into
the Venturi by the vacuum and violently mixed with the water.
This process produces very small bubbles of the ozone-containing
gas, enabling the ozone to dissolve readily. The amount of
ozone (concentration in ppm) that can be dissolved in water before
reaching a saturation limit depends mainly on the following
Water temperature and pressure
Concentration of ozone in carrier
Mode of ozone injection into water
Another method of introducing ozone
into a mikveh is by blowing the ozone directly into the mikveh
through a dispersing stone and a compressor.