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Issue 5, 2017
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The microbial colonization of activated carbon block point-of-use (PoU) filters with and without chlorinated phenol disinfection by-products

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Abstract

Activated carbon block (ACB)-based point-of-use (PoU) drinking water filters are widely used to remove residual disinfectant, heavy metals, and disinfection by-products (DBPs) from household tap water. The filters are not designed to remove bacteria, which can grow in the filter. Based on previous research, we hypothesized that more biofilm would form in PoU filters due to the presence of chlorinated phenolic DBPs, resulting in higher bacterial concentrations in filtered water. Therefore, studies were conducted by operating a manifold system with three sets of ACB PoU filters that received chloraminated tap water spiked with (50 and 100 ng L−1 added) and without (0 ng L−1 added) pentachlorophenol (PCP) as a surrogate chlorinated phenolic DBP. After processing 85% of the manufacturer's recommended water volume, effluent heterotrophic plate counts plateaued at levels up to 100 times greater than influent counts. The upstream filter fabric developed a significant biofilm that lightened with increasing PCP concentration; however, the overall biofilm mass was not different between treatments. Influent, effluent, and fabric samples had distinct bacterial community structures, and the structure of effluent communities was more similar to that of fabric communities than that of influent communities. The bacterial community structure changed across the filter primarily due to the filter environment itself, while PCP effects were subtle yet significant. The relative abundance of Mycobacterium increased within fabric biofilms when PCP was added, and the absolute abundance was estimated to increase in the effluent relative to the influent. In conclusion, ACB PoU filters significantly alter the bacterial abundance and composition of drinking water.

Graphical abstract: The microbial colonization of activated carbon block point-of-use (PoU) filters with and without chlorinated phenol disinfection by-products

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Publication details

The article was received on 27 Apr 2017, accepted on 05 Jul 2017 and first published on 06 Jul 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00134G
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2017,3, 830-843
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY-NC license
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    The microbial colonization of activated carbon block point-of-use (PoU) filters with and without chlorinated phenol disinfection by-products

    C. Wu, S. Ghosh, K. J. Martin, A. J. Pinto, V. J. Denef, T. M. Olson and N. G. Love, Environ. Sci.: Water Res. Technol., 2017, 3, 830
    DOI: 10.1039/C7EW00134G

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material and it is not used for commercial purposes.

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      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
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      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
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      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
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      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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