Exploring the potential synergistic effects of chemical disinfectants and UV on the inactivation of free-living bacteria and treatment of biofilms in a pilot-scale system

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The main objective of this study is to explore possible synergistic or additive effects of combinations of chemical disinfectants (sodium hypochlorite, peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide) and UV in their efficacy in inactivating free-living bacteria and removing biofilms. In contrast to most studies, this study examines disinfection of municipal water in a pilot-scale system using a mixed bacterial suspension, which enables a better simulation of the conditions encountered in actual industrial environments. It was shown that the combination of either hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, or chlorine dioxide with UV yielded additive effects on the inactivation of free-living bacteria. Actual synergy was observed for the combination of UV and 5 ppm hydrogen peroxide. Regarding biofilm treatment, additive effects were observed using the combination of hydrogen peroxide and UV. The promising results obtained in this study indicate that the combination of UV and chemical disinfectants can considerably reduce the amount of chemicals required for the effective disinfection and treatment of biofilms.

Keywords: biofilm, chlorination, disinfection, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, pilot-scale system, UV-treatment

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