To guarantee a good water quality at the consumer’s tap, natural organic matter (NOM) should be (partly) removed during drinking water treatment. The objective of this research is to measure the effect of NOM removal by ion exchange on the biological stability of drinking water. Experiments were performed in two lanes of the pilot plant of Weesperkarspel in the Netherlands. The lanes consisted of ozonation, softening, biological activated carbon filtration and slow sand filtration. Ion exchange in fluidized form was used as pre-treatment in one lane and removed 50% of the dissolved organic carbon (DOC); the other lane was used as reference. Compared to the reference lane, the assimilable organic carbon (AOC) concentration of the finished water in the lane pretreated by ion exchange was 61% lower. The biofilm formation rate of the finished water was decreased with 70% to 2.0 pg ATP/cm2.day. The achieved concentration of AOC and the values of the biofilm formation rate with ion exchange pre-treatment showed that the biological stability of drinking water can be improved by extending a treatment plant with ion exchange, especially when ozonation is involved as disinfection and oxidation step.
Keywords: biostability, drinking water, ion exchange, natural organic matter (NOM)