Bacteria associated with granular activated carbon particles in drinking water
Camper, Anne K.
LeChevallier, Mark W.
Broadaway, Susan C.
McFeters, Gordon A.
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A sampling protocol was developed to examine particles released from granular activated carbon filter beds. A gauze filter/Swinnex procedure was used to collect carbon fines from 201 granular activated carbon-treated drinking water samples over 12 months. Application of a homogenization procedure (developed previously) indicated that 41.4% of the water samples had heterotrophic plate count bacteria attached to carbon particles. With the enumeration procedures described, heterotrophic plate count bacteria were recovered at an average rate of 8.6 times higher than by conventional analyses. Over 17% of the samples contained carbon particles colonized with coliform bacteria as enumerated with modified most-probable-number and membrane filter techniques. In some instances coliform recoveries were 122 to 1,194 times higher than by standard procedures. Nearly 28% of the coliforms attached to these particles in drinking water exhibited the fecal biotype. Scanning electron micrographs of carbon fines from treated drinking water showed microcolonies of bacteria on particle surfaces. These data indicate that bacteria attached to carbon fines may be an important mechanism by which microorganisms penetrate treatment barries and enter potable water supplies.
Camper AK, Lechevallier MW, Broadaway SC, McFeters GA, "Bacteria associated with granular activated carbon particles in drinking water," Applied and Environmental Microbiology 1986 52(3):434-438