Tag Archives: distribution systems

Partial Lead Service Line Replacement Should be Avoided

Deshommes E, Laroche L, Deveau D, Nour S, Prévost M. Short- and Long-Term Lead Release after Partial Lead Service Line Replacements in a Metropolitan Water Distribution System. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Aug 9. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b01720.

Thirty-three households were monitored in a full-scale water distribution system, to investigate the impact of recent (<2 yr) or old partial lead service line replacements (PLSLRs). Total and particulate lead concentrations were measured using repeat sampling over a period of 1-20 months. Point-of-entry filters were installed to capture sporadic release of particulate lead from the lead service lines (LSLs). Mean concentrations increased immediately after PLSLRs and erratic particulate lead spikes were observed over the 18 month post-PLSLR monitoring period. The mass of lead released during this time frame indicates the occurrence of galvanic corrosion and scale destabilization. System-wide, lead concentrations were however lower in households with PLSLRs as compared to those with no replacement, especially for old PLSLRs. Nonetheless, 61% of PLSLR samples still exceeded 10 μg/L, reflecting the importance of implementing full LSL replacement and efficient risk communication. Acute concentrations measured immediately after PLSLRs demonstrate the need for appropriate flushing procedures to prevent lead poisoning.

Crude oil contamination of plastic and copper drinking water pipes

Huang X, Andry S, Yaputri J, Kelly D, Ladner DA, Whelton AJ. Crude oil contamination of plastic and copper drinking water pipes. Journal of hazardous materials. 2017 Jun 17;339:385-394. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2017.06.015.

This study was conducted to determine the susceptibility of plastic (i.e., PEX, HDPE and CPVC) and copper pipes to short-term contamination by crude oil. Pipes were exposed to highly and slightly contaminated drinking water for the typical duration of Do Not Use drinking water orders. PEX pipes sorbed and desorbed the greatest amount of monoaromatic hydrocarbons (MAHs), whereas copper pipes were less susceptible to contamination. For benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes (BTEX) quantified in water, only benzene exceeded its health based maximum contaminant level (MCL). The MCL was exceeded for copper pipe on day 3, for CPVC pipe through day 9, and PEX and HDPE pipes through day 15. The BTEX compound concentration in water after the pipes were returned to service depended on the initial crude oil concentration, material type, and exposure duration. Total organic carbon (TOC) measurement was not helpful in detecting oil contaminated water. Except BTEX, trimethylbenzene isomers and a couple of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) with and without MCLs were also detected desorbing from PEX-A pipe. Oil contaminated water must be thoroughly characterized and pipe type will influence the ability of drinking water levels to return to safe limits.

Monitoring Opportunistic Pathogens in Premise Plumbing

Wang H, Bédard E, Prévost M, Camper AK, Hill VR, Pruden A. Methodological approaches for monitoring opportunistic pathogens in premise plumbing: A review. Water research. 2017 Mar 25;117:68-86. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.03.046.

Opportunistic premise (i.e., building) plumbing pathogens (OPPPs, e.g., Legionella pneumophila, Mycobacterium avium complex, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acanthamoeba, and Naegleria fowleri) are a significant and growing source of disease. Because OPPPs establish and grow as part of the native drinking water microbiota, they do not correspond to fecal indicators, presenting a major challenge to standard drinking water monitoring practices. Further, different OPPPs present distinct requirements for sampling, preservation, and analysis, creating an impediment to their parallel detection. The aim of this critical review is to evaluate the state of the science of monitoring OPPPs and identify a path forward for their parallel detection and quantification in a manner commensurate with the need for reliable data that is informative to risk assessment and mitigation. Water and biofilm sampling procedures, as well as factors influencing sample representativeness and detection sensitivity, are critically evaluated with respect to the five representative bacterial and amoebal OPPPs noted above. Available culturing and molecular approaches are discussed in terms of their advantages, limitations, and applicability. Knowledge gaps and research needs towards standardized approaches are identified.

Impact of Changing Water Supply Quality on Distributed Water

Liu G, Zhang Y, Knibbe WJ, Feng C, Liu W, Medema G, van der Meer W. Potential impacts of changing supply-water quality on drinking water distribution: A review. Water Res. 2017 Mar 19;116:135-148. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2017.03.031.

Driven by the development of water purification technologies and water quality regulations, the use of better source water and/or upgraded water treatment processes to improve drinking water quality have become common practices worldwide. However, even though these elements lead to improved water quality, the water quality may be impacted during its distribution through piped networks due to the processes such as pipe material release, biofilm formation and detachment, accumulation and resuspension of loose deposits. Irregular changes in supply-water quality may cause physiochemical and microbiological de-stabilization of pipe material, biofilms and loose deposits in the distribution system that have been established over decades and may harbor components that cause health or esthetical issues (brown water). Even though it is clearly relevant to customers’ health (e.g., recent Flint water crisis), until now, switching of supply-water quality is done without any systematic evaluation. This article reviews the contaminants that develop in the water distribution system and their characteristics, as well as the possible transition effects during the switching of treated water quality by destabilization and the release of pipe material and contaminants into the water and the subsequent risks. At the end of this article, a framework is proposed for the evaluation of potential transition effects.

Occurrence of Nonylphenol and Bisphenol A in Household Water Pipes

Cheng YC, Chen HW, Chen WL, Chen CY, Wang GS. Occurrence of nonylphenol and bisphenol A in household water pipes made of different materials. Environmental monitoring and assessment 2015 Oct;188(10):562. doi: 10.1007/s10661-016-5556-0.

We assessed the occurrence of nonylphenol (NP) and bisphenol A (BPA) in tap water supplied through polyvinyl chloride (PVC), stainless steel, and galvanized pipes. Water samples were collected from selected households in Taipei and Kaohsiung (Northern and Southern Taiwan, respectively) in different seasons to elucidate the effects of pipeline materials and ambient temperatures on NP and BPA concentrations in tap water. We detected higher concentrations of NP in tap water from households using PVC pipes (64-195 ng/L) than from those using stainless steel pipes (17-44 ng/L) and galvanized pipes (27-96 ng/L). To verify that water can absorb NP and BPA from PVC pipes, we sealed Milli-Q and tap water in PVC and stainless steel pipes to assess the potential release of NP and BPA from the pipes into the water. Both NP and BPA concentrations initially increased with contact time in the PVC pipes, and the concentration profiles during the retention appeared to be more strongly affected by ambient temperatures. Concentration variations in the stainless steel pipes were smaller than those in the PVC pipes.

Bacterial Repopulation of Drinking Water Pipe Walls After Chlorination

Mathieu L, Francius G, El Zein R, Angel E, Block JC. Bacterial repopulation of drinking water pipe walls after chlorination. Biofouling. Biofouling. 2016 Sep;32(8):925-34. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2016.1212989/

The short-term kinetics of bacterial repopulation were evaluated after chlorination of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) colonized with drinking water biofilms and compared with bare HDPE surfaces. The effect of chlorination was partial as a residual biofilm persisted and was time-limited as repopulation occurred immediately after water resupply. The total number of bacteria reached the same levels on both the bare and chlorinated biofilm-fouled HDPE after a seven-day exposure to drinking water. Due to the presence of a residual biofilm, the hydrophobicity of chlorinated biofilm-fouled surface exhibited much lower adhesion forces (2.1 nN) compared to bare surfaces (8.9 nN). This could explain the rapid repopulation after chlorination, with a twofold faster bacterial accumulation rate on the bare HDPE surface. γ-Proteobacteria dominated the early stages of repopulation of both surfaces and a shift in the dominance occurred over the colonization time. Such observations define a timescale for cleaning frequency in industrial environments and guidelines for a rinsing procedure using drinking water.

Controlling Biofilm Growth in Drinking Water Distribution Systems

Liu S, Gunawan C, Barraud N, Rice SA, Harry EJ, Amal R. Understanding, Monitoring and Controlling Biofilm Growth in Drinking Water Distribution Systems. Environ Sci Techno. 2016 Aug 1.

In drinking water distribution systems (DWDS), biofilms are the predominant mode of microbial growth with the presence of extracellular polymeric substance (EPS) protecting the biomass from environmental and shear stresses. Biofilm formation poses a significant problem to the drinking water industry as a potential source of bacterial contamination, including pathogens and in many cases also affecting the taste and odor of drinking water and promotes corrosion of pipes. This article critically reviews important research findings on biofilm growth in DWDS, examining the factors affecting their formation and characteristics, as well as the various technologies to characterize, monitor and ultimately, to control their growth. Research indicates that temperature fluctuations potentially affect not only the initial bacteria-to-surface attachment but also the growth rates of biofilms. For the latter, the effect is unique for each type of biofilm-forming bacteria – ammonia oxidizing bacteria for example, grow more developed biofilms at typical summer temperature of 22○C compared to 12○C in fall , while the opposite occurs for the pathogenic V. cholera. Recent investigations have found formation of thinner yet denser biofilms under high and turbulent flow regimes of drinking water, in comparison to the more porous and loosely attached biofilms at low flow rates. Further, in addition to the rather well-known tendency of significant biofilm growth on corrosion-prone metal pipes, research efforts also found leaching of growth-promoting organic compounds from the increasingly popular use of polymer-based pipes. Knowledge of the unique microbial members of drinking water biofilms and importantly, the influence of water characteristics and operational conditions on their growth, can be applied to optimize various operational parameters to minimize biofilm accumulation. More detailed characterizations of the biofilm population size and structure are now feasible with fluorescence microscopy (epifluorescence and CLSM imaging with DNA, RNA, EPS, protein and lipid stains) and electron microscopy imaging (ESEM). Importantly, thorough identification of microbial fingerprints in drinking water biofilms is achievable with DNA sequencing techniques (the 16S rRNA gene-based identification), which have revealed prevalence of previously undetected bacterial members. Technologies are now moving toward in situ monitoring of biomass growth in distribution networks, including the development of optical fibres capable of differentiating biomass from chemical deposits. Taken together, management of biofilm growth in water distribution systems requires an integrated approach, starting from treatment of water prior to entering the networks, to potential implementation of ‘biofilm-limiting’ operational conditions and finally, to the careful selection of available technologies for biofilm monitoring and control. For the latter, conventional practices, including chlorine – chloramine disinfection, flushing of DWDS as well as nutrient removal, and emerging technologies are discussed with their associated challenges.