State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project ID: 2009OH89B
Title: Monitoring the Role of Biofilm Biopolymers Against Disinfectants in Water Distribution Systems
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 9th District: Lucas County, OH
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Water Supply, Methods
Keywords: Biofilm, Extraceullular Polymerics Substances (EPS), Disinfection
Principal Investigator: Seo, Youngwoo (University of Toledo)
Federal Funds: $ 24,534
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 49,428
Abstract: Biofilm formation is ubiquitous in water distribution systems. Reports from many water utilities in the US, including utilities in Ohio, have shown that biofilms survive in water distribution systems despite the presence of disinfectants. A biofilm is comprised of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), which are believed to provide protective barriers for microorganisms against disinfectants. However, there is still a significant knowledge gap, especially concerning the reaction kinetics of EPS with disinfectants and the role of EPS on the disinfection of biofilm. Currently, more quantitative information is required for water utilities to assess and optimize disinfectant dosages for controlling biofilms in water distribution systems.

The principal research objective in this proposal is to monitor the role of EPS as protective barriers against disinfection in water distribution systems. The physical transport properties of a model disinfectant (chlorine) and its reaction kinetics in biofilm will be quantitatively studied using molecular probes and a chlorine sensitive microsensor. Specifically, the emphasis will be placed on elucidating reaction and disinfection kinetics of biofilm EPS. This research goal will be addressed by 1) characterizing biofilm EPS components and their reaction kinetics with a model disinfectant; 2) quantifying EPS and viability of biofilm with fluorescently labeled molecular probes under a model disinfectant; 3) monitoring the transport limitation of a model disinfectant in biofilm. The proposed study will provide the information needed for implementing fundamental and effective biofilm control strategies in water distribution systems, supporting research, education and local water utilities.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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