Ultraviolet radiation is a method of disinfection involving the use of a high concentration of ultraviolet light at a short wavelength.
Inside a watertight chamber, water runs underneath a UV lamp. The concentrated UV light alters the nucleic acids within microorganisms to disrupt their DNA, destroying their ability to reproduce and effectively killing them.
UV purifiers can be small enough to sanitize individual bottles of water or as large as the Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility in New York, which treats 2.2 billion gallons of water each day. They are often used in conjunction with a water softener to ensure safe, soft water.
Radiation treatment is noteworthy for being chemical-free and environmentally friendly. Compared to chemical treatments such as chlorine, radiation has proven to be far more effective in treating harmful parasites such as Cryptosporidia and Giardia which were each responsible for deadly outbreaks in recent years. UV radiation can also be used to treat contaminated air and food.