When biodegradable organic matter and other nutrients, such as ammonia and phosphorus, are not sufficiently removed during water treatment, bacteria may proliferate in the water distribution system. Bacterial regrowth deteriorates water quality (taste and odor), accelerates corrosion, and potentially increases the risk of microbial diseases. Therefore, this research was conducted to evaluate the impact of four different advanced water treatment processes, including biological treatments such as a rotating biofilm membrane reactor (RBMR) and a biological activated carbon (BAC) filter and ultrafiltration (UF), on reduction of nutrient levels and biofilm formation potentials of the treated water entering model distribution systems (annular reactors). Our results revealed that biological treatments significantly improved the “biostability” of water leaving from the treatment plant. On average, The RBMR and BAC filter reduced easily assimilable organic carbon (AOC) concentration by half when compared with conventional treatment (multi-media filtration; MF) and ultrafiltration (from 35-49 to 18-23 mg C L-1). Consequently, biofilm formation potential was reduced by a factor of 5 to 10 (from 3,200-5,100 to 490-710 pg ATP cm-2). With respect to “biostability” of water, ultrafiltration was less effective in reducing AOC concentrations. In addition, the impact of chlorine disinfection on biofilm accumulation and AOC levels in the distribution system were studied.

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