The limitations of hydrodynamic removal of biofilms from the dead-ends in a model drinking water distribution system
ID Simunič, Urh (Author), ID Pipp, Peter (Author), ID Dular, Matevž (Author), ID Stopar, David (Author)

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Biofilm formation and removal from dead-ends is a particularly difficult and understudied area of water distribution system biology. In this work, we have built a model drinking water distribution system to probe the effect of different hydrodynamic flow regimes on biofilm formation and removal in the main pipe and in the dead-end. The test rig was built to include all major drinking water distribution system components with materials and dimensions used in standard plumbing systems. We have simulated the effect of stagnant, laminar, turbulent, and intense turbulent flushing conditions on the growth and removal of biofilms from the main pipe and the dead-end. The growth of the biofilm in the main pipe was not prevented at a volumetric flow rate of 9.4 L min−1 and flow velocity of 2 m s−1. Mature biofilms were more difficult to remove. Biofilms grown under shear stress conditions could withstand significantly higher shear stresses than those to which they were exposed to during growth. The biofilms grew twice as fast in the dead-end when flow in the main pipe was turbulent compared to stagnant conditions. Biofilms in the dead-end were not affected by the flushing conditions in the main pipe (Q = 52 L min−1, Re = 9.0 · 104). The computational fluid dynamics simulation suggests that biofilms cannot be hydrodynamically removed from the dead-end at depths that are larger than one pipe diameter. Biofilms beyond this limit present a possible source for reinoculation and recolonization of the rest of the water distribution system.

Keywords:biofilm control, drinking water distribution systems, hydrodynamic flow, dead-ends, escherichia coli
Work type:Article (dk_c)
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:FS - Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
Publication status in journal:Published
Article version:Postprint, final article version, accepted into publication
Publication date:01.07.2020
Number of pages:Str. 1-13
Numbering:Vol. 178
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-126677 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:0043-1354
DOI:10.1016/j.watres.2020.115838 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:12956163 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:03.05.2021
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:Water research
Shortened title:Water res.
COBISS.SI-ID:26617344 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Description:The most restrictive Creative Commons license. This only allows people to download and share the work for no commercial gain and for no other purposes.
Licensing start date:01.07.2020

Secondary language

Keywords:nadzor biofilmov, modelni vodovodni sistemi, tokovne razmere, hidrodinamični tok, mrtvi rokavi, E. coli


Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:P2-0401
Name:Energetsko strojništvo

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:P4-0116
Name:Mikrobiologija in biotehnologija živil in okolja

Funder:ARRS - Agencija za raziskovalno dejavnost Republike Slovenije
Project number:J1-8156
Name:Stabilni izotopi pri študiju vpliva naraščajoče koncentracije CO2 na kroženje C in Hg v obalnem morju

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