Pathogen Survival in Drinking Water Distribution Systems

EPA Grant Number: U915547
Title: Pathogen Survival in Drinking Water Distribution Systems
Investigators: Dunahee, Nathaniel K.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through May 1, 2001
Project Amount: $54,999
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Engineering and Environmental Chemistry , Fellowship - Civil/Environmental Engineering


The main objective of this research project is to investigate the mechanisms responsible for the survival and the persistence of pathogens in the presence of a disinfectant residual in drinking water distribution systems. Microorganisms used in this project include Aeromonas hydrophila, Mycobacterium avium, and E.scherichia coli.


Experiments are designed to assess the role of cyclic and sequential exposure of the pathogens (Aeromonas. hydrophila and Mycobacterium. avium) and the indicator organism (E. coli) to disinfectants. Cyclic exposure will simulate the event of cross contamination when microorganisms are introduced into a distribution system and are exposed to monochloramine, followed by a loss of the disinfectant for a period of time, and then re-exposed again. Experiments are performed using batch (when microorganisms are in suspension) and flow- through (when microorganisms are imbedded in biofilms) reactors at temperatures between 1- and 30°C, and at pH values between 6 and 8. Viability assessment is determined using serial dilutions, followed by the membrane filtration method (APHA, et al., 1992) (APHA et al., 1992). This project should provide information that provide information to will allow utilities to optimize their current disinfection practice, with the objective of providing optimal protection against pathogens in drinking water distribution systems.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, disinfection, pathogens, Escherichia coli, Aeromonas hydrophila, Mycobacterium avium, inhibition, monochloramine., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Environmental Chemistry, Drinking Water, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, pathogens, drinking water distribution systems, disinfection of waters, pathogen removal, mycobacterium, E. Coli, disinfectant residual, drinking water distribution system, aeromonas hydrophila

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000
  • Final