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Environ Int. 2014 Nov;72:124-8. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.031. Epub 2014 Feb 16.

Decontamination of biological agents from drinking water infrastructure: a literature review and summary.

Author information

1
United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Homeland Security Research Center (NG-16), 26W. Martin Luther King Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45268, United States. Electronic address: szabo.jeff@epa.gov.
2
United States Environmental Protection Agency, National Homeland Security Research Center (NG-16), 26W. Martin Luther King Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45268, United States.

Abstract

This report summarizes the current state of knowledge on the persistence of biological agents on drinking water infrastructure (such as pipes) along with information on decontamination should persistence occur. Decontamination options for drinking water infrastructure have been explored for some biological agents, but data gaps remain. Data on bacterial spore persistence on common water infrastructure materials such as iron and cement-mortar lined iron show that spores can be persistent for weeks after contamination. Decontamination data show that common disinfectants such as free chlorine have limited effectiveness. Decontamination results with germinant and alternate disinfectants such as chlorine dioxide are more promising. Persistence and decontamination data were collected on vegetative bacteria, such as coliforms, Legionella and Salmonella. Vegetative bacteria are less persistent than spores and more susceptible to disinfection, but the surfaces and water quality conditions in many studies were only marginally related to drinking water systems. However, results of real-world case studies on accidental contamination of water systems with E. coli and Salmonella contamination show that flushing and chlorination can help return a water system to service. Some viral persistence data were found, but decontamination data were lacking. Future research suggestions focus on expanding the available biological persistence data to other common infrastructure materials. Further exploration of non-traditional drinking water disinfectants is recommended for future studies.

KEYWORDS:

Bacteria; Decontamination; Drinking water; Infrastructure; Spores; Viruses

PMID:
24548733
DOI:
10.1016/j.envint.2014.01.031
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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