Investigations into distribution systems (DS) working without or with low disinfectant residuals showed that the main process for the bacteria change in such systems is the release of bacteria from the biofilm, whereas the growth of bacteria in the water can be neglected. Important for the quality are short-term increases of bacteria release connected to an increase of bacteria growth on the inner pipe surface as a result of changes in the concentration of biodegradable organic matter (BOM) in the water. A model to describe the bacterial water quality change was developed on the basis of investigations. In contrast to other models, a consideration of the formation of BOM as a result of NOM oxidation by disinfectant residuals as well as the decreasing effect of inactivation of released bacteria by the decreasing disinfectant residual concentration, were necessary.

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