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Water Res. 2005 May;39(10):1962-71.

Pipeline materials modify the effectiveness of disinfectants in drinking water distribution systems.

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Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Department of Environmental Health, National Public Health Institute, P.O. Box 95, FIN-70701, Kuopio, Finland.


We studied how pipe material can modify the effectiveness of UV- and chlorine disinfection in drinking water and biofilms. This study was done with two pipe materials: copper and composite plastic (polyethylene, PE) in a pilot scale water distribution network. UV-disinfection decreased viable bacterial numbers in the pilot waterworks and outlet water of pipes on average by 79%, but in biofilms its disinfecting effect was minor. Chlorine decreased effectively the microbial numbers in water and biofilms of PE pipes. In outlet water from copper pipes, the effect of chlorination was weaker; microbial numbers increased back to the level before chlorination within a few days. In the biofilms present in the copper pipes, chlorine decreased microbial numbers only in front of the pipeline. One reason for weaker efficiency of chlorine in copper pipes was that its concentration declined more rapidly in the copper pipes than in the PE pipes. These results means that copper pipes may require a higher chlorine dosage than plastic pipes to achieve effective disinfection of the pipes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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