The biofilm formation rate was measured in situ in a hot water system in an apartment building by specially designed sampling equipment, and the net growth of the suspended bacteria was measured by incubation of water samples with the indigeneous bacteria. The biofilm formation rate reached a higher level in the hot water distribution system (2.1 d−1 to 2.3 d−1) than in the hot water tank (1.4 d−1 to 2.2 d−1) indicating an important area for surface associated growth. The net growth rate of the suspended bacteria measured in hot water from the top, middle and bottom of the hot water tank, in the sludge, or in the water from the distribution system was negligible. This indicated that bacterial growth took place on the inner surfaces in the hot water system and biofilm formation and detachment of bacteria could account for most of the suspended bacteria actually measured in hot water. Therefore, attempts to reduce the number of bacteria in a hot water system have to include the distribution system as well as the hot water tank.

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