The effect of the surface-to-volume contact ratio on the biomass production potential of the pipe products in contact with drinking water

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

The biomass production potential (BPP) test is a semi-static test for assessment of microbial growth promoting properties of construction products in contact with drinking water (CPDW). In 2003 the test was selected for incorporation into a scheme for acceptance of CPDW in the framework of implementation of the European Construction Product Directive and Drinking Water Directive. The pass/fail criterion for the BPP test is based on the sum of microbial growth in water and in biofilm caused by substances released from CPDW. The test is performed at a surface-to-volume contact ratio (S/V) of 0.17 cm−1, that is quite different from the practice in buildings and domestic installations, where the usual ratios are 2.1 cm−1 for 3/4 inches pipe, 1.6 cm−1 for 1 inches pipe or 1.0 cm−1 for 1.5 inches pipe. The goal of the study was to evaluate the importance of S/V ratio for performance of the BPP test and for correct assessment of the growth promoting properties of CPDW. The BPP of 10 pipe products were compared under the S/V ratios of 0.17 cm−1 and 1.7 cm−1. The BPP of most polymer products were higher under the S/V ratio of 1.7 cm−1 in individual trials, but the differences were insignificant. However, the planktonic biomass concentrations were 4–14 fold higher at larger S/V ratio and this can be important from hygienic point of view. For acceptance of CPDW, besides a pass/fail criterion for the BPP, the planktonic biomass concentration could be taken as a second criterion for evaluation.

Keywords: adenosine triphosphate, biofilm, biomass production, distribution systems, drinking water, pipes

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