Fresh tap water is teeming with harmless microbial life, and water that sits for a few days inside pipes can contain millions of bacteria. Although incidents of waterborne infections resulting from indoor plumbing are rare, the new model may help public health authorities assess drinking-water quality.
Bacteria that live in tap water exist in two communities -- those that float freely in the water and those that live in the films that line the sides of pipes, called biofilms. Biofilms are much like the films that we see growing on the glass in fish tanks, Liu said. The team believes that the bacteria they see in the post-stagnation samples came from interactions between the water and biofilms that exist inside the pipes closest to the taps.
Bacteria in tap water can multiply when a faucet isn't used for a few days, such as when a house is vacant over a week's vacation, a new study from University of Illinois engineers found. The study suggests a new method to show how microbial communities, including those responsible for illnesses like Legionnaires' disease, may assemble inside the plumbing systems of homes and public buildings.
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