Sediment accumulates in distribution systems over time, and can potentially result in dirty water events. The primary origin of these particles in most networks has not been examined. Controlled sediment resuspension (flushing) events were performed at 10 sites in a drinking water distribution system and repeated six months later to observe redeposition. Different patterns of sediment deposition observed are suspected to be related to particle origin. A large proportion of pipe sediment resuspended during the first flushing event was composed of iron, most likely arising from corrosion of distribution system infrastructure. This sediment appears to play a role in sheltering microbial cells from secondary disinfection. In this study, a source of particles was identified that may provide an alternate explanation for the presence of iron deposits in systems not dominated by iron pipework.

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