State Water Resources Research Institute Program


Project Id: 2010OH160B
Title: The Influence of Natural Organic Matter on Biofilm Growth, Chlorine Efficacy, and By-Product Formation in Water Distribution Systems
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 9th District: Lucas County, OH
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Water Supply, Methods
Keywords: Biofilm, NOM, Disinfection
Principal Investigator: Seo, Youngwoo (University of Toledo)
Federal Funds: $ 12,236
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 24,927
Abstract: To control persistent biofilm formation in water distribution systems, water utilities have adapted operational response methods which apply higher residual disinfectant concentrations. Disinfectants have been safeguards to protect the public from infectious microbial organisms and pathogenic biofilm growth. However, while controlling the biological instability of water with a high dose of disinfectants, the very disinfectants can cause potential public health threat, generating unwanted disinfectant by-products (DBPs).

Previous studies reported that the concentrations of DBPs at the tap are two to three times higher than what they are when leaving water treatment plants. It has been assumed that water distribution systems habor organic precursor materials of DBPs, associated with biofilm and corrosion products. Biofilm has shown high sorption capacity of NOMs and the extracellular polymeric substances of biofilm also have similar characteristics with NOM. Therefore, while we are working on the disinfection of the persistence of biofilm, a high concentration of DBP can be formed from biofilm and cause adverse health effects to the public. Currently, there is a significant knowledge gap for water utilities to assess and optimize disinfectant dosage to control biofilm growth as well as to maintain a low level of DPB formation in water distribution systems. There is a significant research need for quantitative information about the role of biofilm in the fate of NOM and the formation of DBPs in the water distribution system. The proposed study will try to answer our current knowledge gaps for protecting public health from both biofilm and DBPs.

Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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