SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.34 issue3Prevalence of enterohaemorrhagic Escherichia coli O157: H7 in drinking water and its predicted impact on diarrhoeic HIV/AIDS patients in the Amathole District, Eastern Cape Province, South AfricaAn improved area-based guideline for domestic water demand estimation in South Africa author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738

Water SA vol.34 n.3 Pretoria Mar. 2008


Effect of chloramine concentration on biofilm maintenance on pipe surfaces exposed to nutrient-limited drinking water



Se-Keun ParkI; Yeong-Kwan KimII

IDivision of Environmental Science & Engineering, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore
IIDepartment of Environmental Engineering, Kangwon National University, 192-1 Hyoja-dong, Chuncheon, Gangwon-do 200-701, Republic of Korea





This study addresses the effect of specific monochloramine concentration on biofilm density and bacterial functional potential in nutrient-limited water. The efficacy of monochloramine residual maintenance on biofilm density was studied at a range of 0.5 to 2.0 mg/, using a 3:1 (w/w) dosing ratio of chlorine to ammonia, with the provision of low-nutrient water (0.18 mg/ as total organic carbon, 0.055 mg/l as biodegradable dissolved organic carbon, and 10.5 µg/ as assimilable organic carbon) using a granular activated carbon (GAC) filter. Biofilm density was monitored using biofilm bacteria counts and analysis of the physiological substrate utilisation profiles in Biolog gram-negative (GN) micro-plates.
The monochloramine residuals were maintained stable in the low-nutrient water pipes, which contributed to the inhibition of biofilm density. Increasing the monochloramine residual from 0.5 to 2.0 mg/
suppressed the total cells and heterotrophic plate count (HPC) bacteria in the biofilms by about 1 and 2 log units, respectively. The biofilm HPC densities were more sensitive to monochloramine residual, and the reduction in biofilm HPC densities expressed as log CFU/cm2 showed an exponential relationship with the increase in monochloramine residual. The Biolog micro-plate-based community-level assay showed that the biofilm communities occurring at 3 levels of chloramination were distinguished by the differences in their substrate utilisation potentials. The functional/metabolic potential of the biofilm community's ability to utilise specific substrates was much lower at higher monochloramine concentration. Results suggest that the maintenance of a consistently high-level monochloramine residual in the low-nutrient water system led not only to a reduction in biofilm density on pipe surfaces but also depressed potential functional/metabolic ability of the biofilm community.

Keywords: biofilm, monochloramine residual, low-nutrient water, HPC, physiological substrate utilisation profile, GAC


 "Full text available in PDF"



ASTIER F, PAQUIN JL, MATHIEU L, MORLOT M and HARTEMANN P (1995) Study of the development of the musty taste in water according to its ageing process in pilot plant. Environ. Technol. 16955-965.         [ Links ]

BARBEAU B, DESJARDINS R, MYSORE C and PRÉVOST M (2005) Impacts of water quality on chlorine and chlorine dioxide efficacy in natural waters. Water Res. 39 (10) 2024-2033.         [ Links ]

CHANDY JP and ANGLES ML (2001) Determination of nutrients limiting biofilm formation and the subsequent impact on disinfectant decay. Water Res. 35 (11) 2677-2682.         [ Links ]

DONLAN RM and PIPES WO (1988) Selected drinking water characteristics and attached microbial population density. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 80 (11) 70-76.         [ Links ]

FASS S, DINCHER ML, REASONER DJ, GATEL D and BLOCK JC (1996) Fate of Escherichia coli experimentally injected in a drinking water distribution pilot system. Water Res. 30(9) 2215-2221.         [ Links ]

FONSECA AC, SUMMERS RS and HERNANDEZ MT (2001) Comparative measurements of microbial activity in drinking water bio-filters. Water Res. 35(16) 3817-3824.         [ Links ]

GARLAND JL and MILLS AL (1991) Classification and characterization of heterotrophic microbial communities on the basis of patterns of community-level sole-carbon-source utilization. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 57 (8) 2351-2359.         [ Links ]

GRIEBE T, CHEN CI, SRINIVASAN R and STEWART PS (1994) Analysis of biofilm disinfection by monochloramine and free chlorine. In: GG Geesey, Z Lewandowski and HC Flemming (eds.) Bio-fouling and Biocorrosion in Industrial Water Systems (152-161). Lewis, Boca Raton.         [ Links ]

HAACK SK, GARCHOW H, KLUG MJ and FORNEY LJ (1995) Analysis of factors affecting the accuracy, reproducibility, and interpretation of microbial community carbon source utilization patterns. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61 (4) 1458-1468.         [ Links ]

HASS CN (1999) Disinfection. In: RD Letterman (ed.) Water Quality and Treatment - A Handbook of Community Water Supplies (877-932). American Water Works Association, McGraw-Hill, New York.         [ Links ]

KONOPKA A, OLIVER L and TURCO JR RF (1998) The use of carbon substrate utilization patterns in environmental and ecological microbiology. Microb. Ecol. 35 103-115.         [ Links ]

LECHEVALLIER MW, BABCOCK TM and LEE RG (1987) Examination and characterization of distribution system biofilms. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 53(12) 2714-2724.         [ Links ]

LECHEVALLIER MW, CAWTHON CD and LEE RG (1988) Inactivation of biofilm bacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 54 (10) 2492-2499.         [ Links ]

LU W, KIÉNÉ L and LEVI Y (1999) Chlorine demand of biofilms in water distribution systems. Water Res. 33(3) 827-835.         [ Links ]

MOMBA MNB and MAKALA N (2004) Comparing the effect of various pipe materials on biofilm formation in chlorinated and combined chlorine-chloraminated water systems. Water SA 30 (2) 175-182.         [ Links ]

MOMBA MNB, CLOETE TE, VENTER SN and KFIR R (1999) Examination of the behavior of Escherichia coli in biofilms established in laboratory-scale using receiving chlorinated and chloraminated water. Water Res. 33(13) 2937-2940.         [ Links ]

NAGY LA and OLSON BH (1985) Occurrence and significance of bacteria, fungi, and yeasts associated with distribution pipe surfaces. Water Suppl. 11 (3-4) 365-376.         [ Links ]

NORTON CD and LECHEVALLIER MW (2000) A pilot study of bacteriological population changes through potable water treatment and distribution. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 66 (1) 268-276.         [ Links ]

PARK SK, LEE SH, CHOI SC and KIM YK (2006) Characteristics of biofilm community formed in the chlorinated biodegradable organic matter-limited tap water. Environ. Technol. 27(4) 377-386.         [ Links ]

PARK SK, PAK KR, CHOI SC and KIM YK (2004) Evaluation of bioassays for analyzing biodegradable dissolved organic carbon in drinking water. J. Environ. Sci. Health A 39 (1) 103-112.         [ Links ]

ROGERS J, DOWSETT AB, DENNIS PJ, LEE JV and KEEVIL CW (1994) Influence of plumbing materials on biofilm formation and growth of Legionella pneumophila in potable water systems. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 60 (6) 1842-1851.         [ Links ]

SABY S, SIBILLE I, MATHIEU L, PAQUIN JL and BLOCK JC (1997) Influence of water chlorination on the counting of bacteria with DAPI. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 63 (4) 1564-1569.         [ Links ]

STANDARD METHODS (1998) Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater (20th edn.). American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and Water Environment Federation, Washington DC.         [ Links ]

STEWART MH and OLSON BH (1992) Physiological studies of chloramines resistance developed by Klebsiella pneumoniae under low-nutrient growth conditions. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 58 (9) 2918-2927.         [ Links ]

STEWART PS, RAYNER J, ROE F and REES WM (2001) Biofilm penetration and disinfection efficacy of alkaline hypochlorite and chlorosulfamates. J. Appl. Microbiol. 91 (3) 525-532.         [ Links ]

SZEWZYK U, MANZ W, AMANN R, SCHLEIFER KH and STENSTROM TA (1994) Growth and in situ detection of a pathogenic Escherichia coli in biofilms of a heterotrophic water-bacterium by use of 16S- and 23S-rRNA-directed fluorescent oligonucleaotide probes. FEMS Microb. Ecol. 13169-176.         [ Links ]

URFER D, HUCK PM, BOOTH SDJ and COFFEY BM (1997) Biological filtration for BOM and particle removal: A critical review. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 89 (12) 83-98.         [ Links ]

VAN DER WENDE E, CHARACKLIS WG and SMITH DB (1989) Biofilms and bacterial drinking water quality. Water Res. 23 (10) 1313-1322.         [ Links ]

VIKESLAND PJ and VALENTINE RL (2000) Reaction pathways involved in the reduction of monochloramine by ferrous iron. Environ. Sci. Technol. 34 (1) 83-90.         [ Links ]

VIKESLAND PJ, OZEKIN K and VALENTINE RL (1998) Effect of natural organic matter on monochloramine decomposition: pathway elucidation through the use of mass and redox balances. Environ. Sci. Technol. 32(10) 1409-1416.         [ Links ]

VOLK CJ and LECHEVALLIER MW (1999) Impacts of the reduction of nutrient levels on bacterial water quality in distribution systems. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 65 (11) 4957-4966.         [ Links ]

VOLK CJ and LECHEVALLIER MW (2002) Effects of conventional treatment on AOC and BDOC levels. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 94(6) 112-123.         [ Links ]

WOLFE RL, WARD NR and OLSON BH (1984) Inorganic chloramines as drinking water disinfections: a review. J. Am. Water Works Assoc. 76 (5) 74-88.         [ Links ]

WÜNSCHE L, BRÜGGEMANN L and BABEL W (1995) Determination of substrate utilization patterns of soil microbial communities: an approach to assess population changes after hydrocarbon pollution. FEMS Microb. Ecol. 17295-306.         [ Links ]

ZAK JC, WILLIG MR, MOORHEAD DL and WILDMAN HG (1994) Functional diversity of microbial communities: A quantitative approach. Soil Biol. Biochem. 26(9) 1101-1108.         [ Links ]



+65 6516 1216
Fax: +65 6516 5266

Received 29 October 2007;
Accepted in revised form 22 April 2008.