A novel treatment method, consisting of pea-gravel with a marine coating supplemented with benzalkonium chloride (ADBAC), has been examined for its antimicrobial performance and coating stability in aqueous environments. Initial column studies examining the porous media's ability to reduce bacterial loads in HVAC water found average reductions of 94% from pre-flush levels (106 CFU/mL) when assessed with R2A spread plates and 83% reductions with SimPlates. There was no observed statistical difference between the average of pre- and post-flush waters from four tests of the media without ADBAC. Taxonomic identification, by 16S rRNA gene sequencing, of colonies drawn from pre- and post-ABDAC R2A plates showed similarities with taxa observed in high frequency from prior cultivation-independent surveys of other cooling tower systems. With this proof of concept, two versions of the media were evaluated for potential coating components released during aqueous exposure. Neither released measurable VOC components, but one did release bisphenol A and ABDAC compounds. Subsequent column tests of the more durable coating were conducted using cultures of interest in industrial water and demonstrated significant reductions in neutralized post-column Enterococcus faecalis samples and near complete loss of Legionella pneumophila in non-neutralized fluids, but lower reductions in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

  • Development of antimicrobial treatment based on benzalkonium chloride-amended marine-coated porous media.

  • Minimal release of ABDAC and coating chemical components from media.

  • Demonstrated performance in broad reduction bacterial levels in HVAC waters.

  • Significant reductions in targeted bacteria including Legionella pneumophila.

  • Greater reduction in bacteria non-neutralized solutions.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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