ABSTRACT: The contamination of the water distribution network results from fixed bacteria multiplication (biofilm) on the water pipe walls, followed by their detachment and their transport in the circulating liquid. The presence of biofilms in distribution networks can result in numerous unwanted problems for the user such as microbial contamination of the distributed water and deterioration of the network (bio-corrosion). For old networks, lead-containing plumbings can be a serious cause of worry for the consumer owing to the release of lead ions in the circulating water. Among the solutions considered to reduce the presence of lead in drinking water, the addition of orthophosphates constitutes an interesting alternative. However, the added orthophosphate may cause – even at low doses – additional microbial growth. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of the orthophosphate treatment on the biofilm development in the water supplied by the Joinville-le-Pont water treatment plant (Eau de Paris, France). For this purpose, a laboratory pilot plant was devised and connected to the considered water network. Two quantification methods for monitoring the biofilm formation were used: the enumeration on R2A agar and the determination of proteins. For the biofilm detachment operation, an optimization of the rinsing step was firstly conducted in order to distinguish between free and fixed biomass. The data obtained showed that there was a linear relation between both quantification methods. They also showed that, for the tested water, the bacterial densities were not affected by orthophosphate addition at a treatment rate of 1 mg PO43−/L.
Journal of Hazardous Materials.