UV irradiation for disinfecting drinking water has become increasingly important in water supply in recent years. It is also listed in the Austrian Food Register as a permissible method alongside chlorination or the addition of ozone.
Manufacturers whose UV disinfection devices comply with the provisions of ÖNORM M 5873 can acquire the ÖVGW quality mark for their products. To do this, they must meet the requirements set out in the ÖVGW quality standard QS-W 806. The water hygiene department has done pioneering work in this area of the use of UV radiation to inactivate water-borne pathogens and is accredited for the area of "testing UV devices".
Background: The UV-C radiation with a wavelength in the range of 240 to 280 nanometers (nm) affects the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) of microorganisms so that they are inactivated, i.e. they can no longer multiply. Pathogens that cannot reproduce cannot cause an infection. This type of disinfection offers a number of advantages: No chemicals have to be added to the drinking water, the UV rays inactivate the microorganisms very quickly and the effect does not depend on the temperature of the water or the pH value. The testing of UV disinfection devices has been regulated since 1996 by ÖNORM M 5873, in the current editions ÖNORM M 5873-1: 2020 (low pressure lamps) and ÖNORM M 5873-2: 2003 (medium pressure lamps). These standards are based on the research work of the water hygiene department and the UV-Team Austria, which it co-founded.
Regina Sommer: Head of the Department of Water Hygiene at the Institute for Hygiene and Applied Immunology at the Medical University of Vienna, Convenor of the Codex Sub-Commission Drinking Water in the Ministry of Health, President of the IWA Specialist Group “Health-Related Water Microbiology”, board member of the Austrian Society for Hygiene, Microbiology and preventive medicine, the "International UV Association (IUVA)" and Presidential Councilor of Austrian Standards International.