Biofilms and bacteriological water quality in a domestic installation model simulating daily drinking water consumption

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The biofilm formation potential of a drinking water supply system is related to the chemical, microbiological and hydrodynamic characteristics of water, and to the pipe materials in contact with water flow. The goals of this study were: to determine the biofilm dynamics in a model of four drinking water installations, to simulate daily household water consumption; to compare the biofilms developed on different polymer pipe materials and their influence on bacteriological water quality. The results demonstrated that bacterial density of biofilms depended on pipe material type and was influenced by water temperature. The biofilms on polyvinylchloride chlorinated and polyethylene materials had higher bacterial density than biofilms on polypropylene (PP) brands. The effect of the materials, and respectively the biofilms, on drinking water quality was stronger in the overnight stagnation periods, especially during the initial weeks of model operation, than in periods of water consumption. Heterotrophic plate count (HPC) in stagnant or in flowing waters and water temperature followed a similar curve pattern, demonstrating significant seasonal variations. In summer, the HPC values of stagnant waters were raised up to seven times higher than in winter and those of the outlet waters (during the consumption periods) were raised up to four times.

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