Chlorination of model drinking water biofilm: implications for growth and organic carbon removal


The influence of chlorine on biofilm in low organic carbon environments typical of drinking water or industrial process water was examined by comparing biomass and kinetic parameters for biofilm growth in a chlorinated reactor to those in a non-chlorinated control. Mixed-population heterotrophic biofilms were developed in rotating annular reactors under low concentration, carbon-limited conditions (<2 mg/L as carbon) using three substrate groups (amino acids, carbohydrates and humic substances). Reactors were operated in parallel under identical conditions with the exception that chlorine was added to one reactor at a dose sufficient to maintain a free chlorine residual of 0.09¯0.15 mg/L in the effluent. The presence of free chlorine resulted in development of less biofilm biomass compared to the control for all substrates investigated. However, specific growth and organic carbon removal rates were on the average five times greater for chlorinated biofilm compared to the control. Observed yield values were less for chlorinated biofilm. Although chlorinated biofilm's specific organic carbon removal rate was high, the low observed yield indicated organic carbon was being utilized for purposes other than creating new cell biomass. The impacts of free chlorine on mixed-population biofilms in low-nutrient environments were different depending upon the available substrate. Biofilms grown using amino acids exhibited the least difference between control and chlorinated kinetic parameters; biofilm grown using carbohydrates had the greatest differences. These findings are particularly relevant to the fundamental kinetic parameters used in models of biofilm growth in piping systems that distribute chlorinated, low-carbon-concentration water.




Butterfield P.W., A.K. Camper, B.D. Ellis and W.L. Jones, “Chlorination of Model Drinking Water Biofilm: Implications for Growth and Organic Carbon Removal," Wat. Res., 36(17):435 (2002).
Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.