How can we control biofilm growth in drinking water pipeline without increasing disinfectant dosing as WQ standards and not to end up with disinfectant byproducts due to excess disinfectant?

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Disinfectants obviously controls biofilm growth. But increasing dosing pose health problems as well. In addition, unpleasant taste and odour are results of increased dosing. Are there any other methods to control biofilm growth. Some studies say biofilm growth improves the efficiency of systems by reducing pipe roughness initially, however it increases when pipes are old. What is the better cheaper method to clean biofilms from older pipes?

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Comments

Robert Pitchers
Dear Muthukrishna

I have no practical experience of ice pigging. It was developed at the University of Bristol. An internet search will lead you to a Wiki entry where you can download their paper. YouTube also have a number of demonstration videos.

Good Luck.
Robert Pitchers
Dear Muthukrishna
In the absence of an effective chemical treatment, biofilms can only be prevented by removing nutrients that support their growth or having a low water temperature. The first approach is used in some European countries where drinking water is distributed without a residual. This concept is referred to as biostability and the availability of nutrients was expressed in terms of the assimilable organic carbon (AOC) or biodegradable dissolved organic carbon (BDOC). I had experience of AOC and it was generally accepted that an AOC of 10 microgrammes per L was necessary for biostability. It would be equivalent to a very good quality groundwater that is not under any direct influence from a surface water.
The success of biostability depends on having very extensive treatment process capable of achieving significant nutrient removal and maintaining an intact distribution system. It would require significant upgrading to the capacity of an existing treatment works. Using temperature to prevent biofilms is not a practical option.
A number of options are available to limit biofilm growth. Generally, smooth surfaces support less biofilm compared to the rough surfaces of corroded metal pipes; the latter have cracks and crevices that can provide a nice location for growth and protect organisms from potentially adverse conditions. The shorter the residence time of water the more likely is it possible to maintain an effective residual. Also, the higher the velocity, the greater the surface shear stress and the thinner the biofilm.
Don’t ignore the contribution of sediments. They can offer a good surface for biofilms. Where they are found, sediment can be removed by flushing (water mains) and draining and cleaning treated water storage reservoirs). Devices (called "pigs") are sometimes used to mechanically scrape biofilms from pipe surfaces, although their success is open to question. Using crushed ice is viewed as a desirable option. Including a disinfectant will make cleaning more effective. Effective control of water treatment can help to reduce the amount of particles entering the network and so reducing the amount of sediment accumulation.


Muthukrishna vellaisamy Kumarasamy
Hi Robert, Thanks for your answer. How will crushed ice be useful in removing or controlling biofilm?
Swapnil Gujar
Dear Sir,
We have this unique product CDD5000 for 99% bio film removal, prevention and line sanitization with nominal operational cost. kindly contact me for more details.

Regards,

Swapnil Gujar.
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Giovanni Pavanello
Interesting answers and comments. Working since 8 years on biofilm-related issues, scientific research and industrial approaches, I'm quite sure there is no universal solution for this problem. I can just underline the need of checking the effectiveness of the treatment you apply (you can trust your supplier, but checking is always a good choice!). For more info about biofilm growth monitoring and check of sanitation effectiveness: http://www.alvim.it
Satendra Pal Singh
there are so many options are available for reducing the biogrowth in drinking water. cleanliness is the first step to control the biogrowth in drinking water. water source ,water distribution,water storage,water filteration should be clean as per drinking water guideline. i am sure disinfectants will be reduce.
Philip Page
Dear Muthkrishna - have you considered a low ozone dose. I was involved with developing the BiofoulControl project http://biofoulcontrol.com initially developed for off shore work but suitable for pipelines and similar projects.
Eduard Bes
Hello.
Depending on the length of pipeline, you can use ultrasounds: no chemical, very low electric al consumption, easy installation, 0 maintenance... I can help you.
Thanks
Golden Loshiao
Please visit Zeta Rod web-site !

http://zetarod.com/

No need to use any chemical then you can protect your RO membrane from biofilims perfectly ! I have factory friend spoke even used the RO membrane for 2 years it's likely new and good and no biofilms there ! Please see below:


Zeta Rod patented capacitor-based tech­nol­ogy elec­tron­i­cally dis­perses bac­te­ria and min­eral col­loids in aque­ous sys­tems, elim­i­nat­ing bio­foul­ing and pre­vent­ing scale and cor­ro­sion with­out the use of addi­tive chem­i­cals. Colloids in water sys­tems become com­po­nents of the capac­i­tor and receive a strong boost to their nat­ural sur­face charge, alter­ing double-layer con­di­tions that gov­ern
Inamul Choudhury
If water is purified by ozonation and UV , the problem of biofilm growth can be controlled.
John Cook
All,

The answers provided by Mr. Meklati are very good for general applications. Maintain process control whatever disinfectant is being used. Practice an aggressive flushing problem, one that will strip biofilms, clean water storage tanks which can serve as storage reservoirs for organism growth, including pathogens and nitrifying bacteria. If you can use free chlorine, stay with that. If not, careful control of chloramination must be practiced or nitrification of the total chlorine concentration will ensue.

Pigging of pipelines will work if nothing else does. If using chloramines, and biofilm growth becomes problematic, switch to a period feed of free chlorine. This should be done as a last resort, not routinely.
Dane Madsen
Dear Muthkrishna -

Chloramines makes the issue worse by causing lead and copper corrosion, nitrification, and disinfection by-products that are 1000 times worse than those caused by chlorination according to researchers at the US EPA. ClO2 will not kill biofilms unless in a dose too high to consume. Super chlorinating at 200 ppm is not only toxic, its ineffective. Mechanical solutions such as pigging and relining pipes will damage the pipes and, once you are finished, the problem occurs again. Addition point of use devices or filters provides limited results but at a high cost that does not address that nearly 80% of corrosion in water pipes relates to microbiology.

Mixed-oxidant products such as our own, Clearitas, are specifically engineered to remove biofilms and organic matrixed scale from the inside of water pipes (and anything the water touches) while under normal operations. There are several onsite generators that can be used to produce on-demand product, although a bulk, finished product is preferable because of the reduced operations issues. Ours is exceptional because of its patented strength and stability (over 12 months) and our proprietary ability to deliver it in volumes that can be used by the largest utilities in the world. Over 125 cities use Clearitas in the USA daily to remove and prevent bio-film build up and, when coupled with an effective flushing program, will reduce chlorine use by 50% +, reduce flushing, remove corrosion that reduces flows and consumes energy, while reducing disinfection byproducts. Look for mixed oxidant generators or send me an email and I can direct you to some alternatives.

Dane
Vishnukumar M Kulkarni
Controlling biofilm in pipeline for drinking water is possible by maintaining free residual chlorine level to more than 0.2 ppm constantly. While using chlorination for disinfection, it is essential to maintain free residual chlorine and consistency is the key. Usually is difficult to maintain free residual chlorine due to various reasons and chlorine gas being aggressive and highly reactive, it is difficult to control and equipment used for dosing may malfunction if proper care is not taken. This is possible for large treatment plants having sufficient skilled manpower; however, it is most difficult or rather impossible for smaller establishments or townships. For such establishments or even for individual houses now it is possible to maintain desired free residual chlorine level without fear of overdosing by using CHLORITARD.

CHLORITARD is a unique product developed especially for remote places, small - large establishments where technical manpower is not available, water quality is not consistent and electricity is not available for very long time in a day! This is being used for more than two decades in India without failure once suitable pouch of CHLORITARD is suspended in overhead water tank once a month! This pouch containing bleaching powder with retard action maintains free residual chlorine to about 0.5 ppm consistently for 1 month.

I am sure if such technology is used, there is no chance for microbes to develop biofilm. Pl contact me for more details at vm@vmbiotech.com

Regards,

VM
Leonardo Zanata
Hello Dear Kumarasamy. Yes, I agree... but isaw a lot of cheap alternatives for biofilm treatment trought ultrasound that may be effective, like http://www.ultrasonicalgaecontrol.co.uk/product-type/horticulture-irriga... ... i know that this aplication is for lagoons but i think that it can be aplicated. regards.
Rick Schriver
Some systems see results from implementing the G7water catalyst. Antimicrobial and it will ionize minerals to maintain smooth surfaces and even remove deposits over time of use.
Chetan Shukla
Mr. Kumarasamy,
The only way to remove biofilm from services is by shock dosing with chlorine dioxide @200 ppm. Keep the water in the service pipeline for 2-3 hours. Then drain out the water. Once all the biofilm is removed from the pipeline system, you can then move to a constant dosing of the drinking water @1ppm dose. USEPA has approved the use of chlorine dioxide in drinking water upto a dose of 5ppm. Once the water is constantly dosed with chlorine dioxide there will be no growth of new biofilm.
Nikhilesh Mukherjee

Dear Kumarasamy.

This is in continuation with my earlier note,

While there is no way to eliminate biofilm, as said above, shock dosing of chlorine dioxide at intervals will certainly help. There are many bio-dispersants , mostly low molecular weight polymers, which help in flushing out the dead bugs and debris from the system, but these are not allowed for drinking water. So another constraint is that there is no easy / practical method for flushing out debris from drinking water distribution lines.

Regards,

Nikhilesh
Stephanus Victor
Hi Kumarasamy,

The biofilm might reduce friction losses and even improve water quality but will most probably cause corrosion in pipelines. Three comments:
1. Mechanical cleaning using “pigging” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigging is probably the safest and most efficient way of cleaning the existing biofilm. There is always a risk by flushing chemicals down a line.
2. In large distribution systems it is common to top-up the disinfectant (Cl2) at more than one location to keep satisfactory levels at the end of the network without overdosing at the treatment works or reservoir.
3. Most importantly: Minimise biofouling and reduce disinfection by-products by improving the efficiency of the Treatment Works through better operation and maintenance. Only then look at upgrade options and newer or more appropriate technologies.

Regards
Stephanus
Nikhilesh Mukherjee
Dear Kumarasamy. The biggest source of microbial contamination of drinking water is the cross contamination of leaking sewage with leaking treated drinking water in the underground tunnel. So the supply of microbial contaminants to drinking water pipelines almost remains unabated.

However, within this limitation Chlorine dioxide is a very effective biocide to control biofilm. Chlorine dioxide works at very low level, it does not react with organic impurities to form THM, and it works even in alkaline pH very effectively
Regards,
Nikhilesh
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Keith Willett
Hi Kumarasamy
There are two process technologies that you/we could talk around for drinking water treatment

Capacitive Recovery System
This is a process used for the removal of contaminants from drinking water by removing both nitrates and ammonia this process is part of electricity based desalination process and it removes anions and cations. The process has a much higher water recovery than Reverse Osmosis ie it is up to 90 % more efficient
Pure Water
This is a practical solution for short or long term clean water supply, is easily transportable, fully automated, can be remotely monitored and controlled, has a low capex and conforms to HSE requirements as well as exceeding and or meeting DWI (Drinking Water Institute) and WHO (World Health Organisation) standards, has very low energy usage, does not use reverse osmosis or traditional chlorine generators. The treated water is microbiologically safe to drink and with no detectable presence of coliforms ( including E Coli) Clostridia Perfringens or Enterococci, its sterilising and disinfectant qualities means that system is kept clean and prolongs storage life of treated water
Leonardo Zanata
Hello Dear Kumarasamy.

Interesting question. there are some phisical methods (membranes, ultrasound) that can be very efective on the local biofilm control... and they let no "taste" on the water.... however, I think that you you want to have a good and safety water, a consumption point (end of pipe) filter might be requested.

Regards. Léo.
Muthukrishna vellaisamy Kumarasamy
Hi Leo, Thanks for your response. The bacteria survive from treatment and due to contamination through finished water reservoirs enter pipe network and develops EPS which protects bacteria and attracts more bacteria to attach on the pipe wall. It has been observed a thick biofilm of 2 to 4mm which largely increase head loss along the pipe. I think, mechanical Scraping may not be cheaper and it is not easy also. correct me if I am wrong. My question is how do we clean this biofilm layer from the pipeline using cheaper and safer method.
Santhanam Ramasubramanyam
Hi Muthu! The best possible theoretical explanation I have seen so far (not that I am aware of all opinions, since I am not a subject matter expert) is by Dr Uday Shankar Bhawalkar. He says that pollutants like nitrates contaminate water.It can even come from rain since the NOx gases emissions from fossil fuel burning and other normal man made emissions go up as air pollution. it gets washed down as perhaps weak nitric acid (acid rain) as part of the normal nitrogen cycle or some nitrate salt, dissolved in the rain. This is food for pathogens which create such bio fouling. He has developed a bicatalyst he has named Biosanitizer.I had purchased grades long ago perhaps a decade back. Kept in SS containers, where we store our household drinking water supply,they stop bio fouling or the thin mucous film which is normally formed, is now absent. Merely killing pathogens with UV or adding even more toxic chemicals to the water supply aggravates the problem, since the basic food/substrate to breed pathogens is not eliminated or neutralised.For details please visit his web site: www.wastetohealth.com.

I also use Guruvani developed by another scientist named Swami Valmiki Sreenivasa Ayyangarya.Even an extremely small quantity is enough to clean up large quantities of water supplies used as drinking water.He has developed Vedic sciences technologies on his won.This is but one of many methods he uses.

Both above technologies are fully commercialised and available for commercial applications.
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