In the bottle wash process, peracetic acid is often used as terminal disinfectant before the final water rinse. The reasons for choosing peracetic acid are well known, such as excellent activity gainst bacteria, spores, yeasts and moulds, a reasonable price (particularly for larger quantities), good efficacy even at low temperatures and harmless decomposition products (vinegar and water). Although, there has been some concern that if not rinsed adequately, vinegar could act as a bacterial nutrient.
However, if you have a concern about your chemical effluent and normally have to use special facilities to cope with it, hydrogen peroxide is the friendliest terminal disinfectant to use. The breakdown products are water and oxygen, so, if released into ground water, they will actual have a beneficial effect by oxygenating the ground water.
Hydrogen peroxide is used at a similar concentration to peracetic acid and the efficacy against bacteria, yeasts and moulds is the same, with just a slight reduction in effect on bacterial spores. Pricing is not as different as you may imagine. Normally, bulk hydrogen peroxide is sold as a 35% concentrate, whereas peracetic acid is normally delivered at 5%, hence although the drum price is very different, dilution of hydrogen peroxide down to the use concentration will easily offset the higher drum price.
Peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are commonly available from several suppliers.
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