Haloacetic acid degradation by a biofilm in a simulated drinking water distribution system

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Haloacetic acids (HAAs) are disinfection by-products formed as a result of the reaction between chlorine and natural organic matter found in water. HAA concentrations have been observed to decrease at distribution system extremities. This decrease is associated with microbiological degradation by pipe wall biofilm. The objective of this study was to evaluate HAA degradation in a drinking water system in the presence of a biofilm and to identify the factors that influence this degradation. Degradation of dichloracetic acid (DCAA) and trichloroacetic acid (TCAA) was observed in a simulated distribution system. The results obtained showed that different parameters came into play simultaneously in the degradation of HAAs, including retention time, water temperature, biomass, composition of organic matter, and pipe diameter. Seasonal variations had a major effect on HAA degradation and biomass quantity was lower by 1 to 2 logs in the winter and spring compared with the fall. HAA removal decreased with increasingly large pipe diameters. The specific effects of each of these factors were difficult to isolate from each other owing to interactions.

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