Effects of phosphorus on biofilm disinfections in model drinking water distribution systems

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

Drinking water biofilm development is affected by the available nutrient levels and the presence of disinfectants. Phosphorus is recognized as another important limiting nutrient besides organic carbon. In this study, drinking water biofilms were developed in annular reactors to examine the effects of phosphorus on the biofilm disinfections with free chlorine and monochloramine. Phosphorus addition was found to increase the biofilm cell number but decrease the exopolysaccharides (EPS) production. The disinfection efficacies of both free chlorine and monochloramine were increased when phosphorus was added into the reactor systems. At the same disinfection dosages, monochloramine showed greater biofilm removal efficiency than free chlorine. Monochloramine could be a better choice than free chlorine in biofilm disinfection when phosphate-based corrosion inhibitors are applied.

Keywords: biofilms, drinking water, free chlorine, monochloramine, phosphorus

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