A boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrode was constructed as a water disinfector for the inactivation of water borne pathogens. The bactericidal effect of the disinfector was evaluated on artificially contaminated waters containing, respectively, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella pneumophila at high density. By treating the bacterial suspensions with 4 V of constant voltage between the BDD and the counter-electrode for 50 min, the population of E. coli and P. aeruginosa decreased from (10E + 7–8 colony-forming unit mL−1) to below the detection limits of the colony-formation method. Meanwhile, L. pneumophila were reduced to virtually zero when analyzed by fluorescence-based staining. The influences of production parameters (voltage, NaCl concentration and flow rate) on the disinfection kinetics of the BDD disinfector were examined with respect to operational conditions. Voltage was the most significant factor for adjusting the extent of electrolysis, followed by NaCl concentration and flow rate, to influence the disinfection efficiency. The disinfection of natural river water samples containing numerous microbes was performed for a practicability investigation of the BDD electrode. Approximately 99.99% bactericidal efficiency was confirmed by viability detection for E. coli and common germs in treated water. The results showed that the BDD electrode is a promising tool for various wastewater disinfections to combat waterborne diseases.

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