Controlling biological processes in water treatment and distribution is a major challenge to water supply companies. In the Netherlands, the use of chlorine-based disinfectants in water treatment is limited as much as possible and treated water is distributed without disinfectant residual in most cases. Biofilm formation processes in water treatment and distribution are studied using adenosinetriphosphate (ATP) as the parameter for active biomass. ATP measurements are applied to assess biofilm concentrations in distribution systems, in the biofilm monitor to determine the biofilm formation rate of treated water, in the biomass production potential test to determine the effect of pipe materials on microbial growth and in membrane systems to quantify biofouling. The use of a single parameter enables to compare biofilm concentrations in all situations and contributes to the understanding and control of biofilm formation processes in water treatment and distribution. This approach has been designated as the Unified Biofilm Approach.

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