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Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering

ISSN 2095-2201

ISSN 2095-221X(Online)

CN 10-1013/X

Postal Subscription Code 80-973

2018 Impact Factor: 3.883

Front. Environ. Sci. Eng.    2015, Vol. 9 Issue (1) : 39-49
Assessment of oxidative and UV-C treatments for inactivating bacterial biofilms from groundwater wells
Kyle E. MURRAY1,*(),Erin I. Manitou-ALVAREZ2,Enos C. INNISS3,Frank G. HEALY4,Adria A. BODOUR5
1. Oklahoma Geological Survey, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019-0628, USA
2. ERA Environmental Consulting, Dollard des Ormeaux, Montreal, Quebec H9B 2C8, Canada
3. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Missouri-Columbia, MO 65211-2200, USA
4. Department of Biology, Trinity University, One Trinity Place, San Antonio, TX 78212, USA
5. Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE), San Antonio, TX 78236, USA
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Microorganisms are ubiquitous in natural environments and in water supply infrastructure including groundwater wells. Sessile-state microorganisms may build up on well surfaces as biofilms and, if excessive, cause biofouling that reduces well productivity and water quality. Conditions can be improved using biocides and other traditional well rehabilitation measures; however, biofilm regrowth is inevitable given the continuous introduction of microorganisms from the surrounding environment. Alternative and less invasive well maintenance approaches are desirable for reducing biofilm densities while also minimizing harmful disinfection-by-products. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate effectiveness of alternative treatments for inactivating microorganisms comprising biofilms. A novel approach was designed for in situ growth of biofilms on steel coupons suspended from ‘chandeliers’. After more than 100 days of in situ growth, biofilms were harvested, sampled, and baseline biofilm densities quantified through cultivation. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) and oxidative treatments including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), ozone (O3) and mixed oxidants were then applied to the biofilms in laboratory-scale treatments. Microbial inactivation was assessed by comparing treated versus baseline biofilm densities. H2O2 was the most effective treatment, and decreased density below baseline by as much as 3.1 orders of magnitude. Mixed oxidants were effective for the well having a lower density biofilm, decreasing density below baseline by as much as 1.4 orders of magnitude. Disparity in the response to treatment was apparent in the wells despite their spatial proximity and common aquifer source, which suggests that microbiological communities are more heterogeneous than the natural media from which they originate.

Keywords well rehabilitation      aquifer      biofouling      hydrogen peroxide      sustainability     
Corresponding Authors: Kyle E. MURRAY   
Online First Date: 23 April 2014    Issue Date: 31 December 2014
 Cite this article:   
Enos C. INNISS,Frank G. HEALY,Adria A. BODOUR, et al. Assessment of oxidative and UV-C treatments for inactivating bacterial biofilms from groundwater wells[J]. Front. Environ. Sci. Eng., 2015, 9(1): 39-49.
Fig.1  Diagram showing design of two-tiered “chandelier” for growth of biofilms in groundwater wells.
parameter or element Well 1 Well 3 method
pHa 7.2±0.07 6.6±0.07 Troll 9000
conductivity /(umhos·cm-1)a 320±2.7 304±3.5 Troll 9000
temperature /°Ca 24.8±0.05 24.9±0.05 Troll 9000
ORP /mVa -373±62.9 -416±96.3 Troll 9000
DO/(mg·L-1)a <0.01±0.009 <0.01±0.008 Troll 9000
total hardness as CaCO3 /(mg·L-1)b 60 52 EPA 130.2
total dissolved solids/ (mg·L-1)b 176 181 EPA 160.1
sulfate/(mg·L-1)b 6 9 SM 4500-SO4 E
chloride/(mg·L-1)b 53 43 SM 4500-Cl B
nitrate/(mg·L-1)b <0.01 <0.01 EPA 352.1
flouride/(mg·L-1)b 0.04 0.04 SM 4500-F-D
alkalinity, total/(mg·L-1)b 56 68 SM 2320 B
iron/ICP (dissolved)/(mg·L-1)b 3.78 4.12 EPA 200.7
manganese/ICP (dissolved) /(mg·L-1)b 0.316 0.334 EPA 200.7
arsenic/ICP (total)/(mg·L-1)b <0.002 <0.002 EPA 200.7
calcium/(mg·L-1)b 16.8 14.8 EPA 200.7
magnesium/(mg·L-1)b 2.75 3.12 EPA 200.7
sodium/(mg·L-1)b 23.3 21.8 EPA 200.7
TOC/(mg·L-1)b 2.13 1.29 SM 5310 C
turbidity/(NTU)c 81 194 Hach DR890
planktonic/(CFU·mL-1) 1.7E+05±1.2E+04 7.2E+04±1.7E+03 Plate Count
baseline biofilm/(CFU·cm-2)d 1.2E+04±1.4E+03 7.1E+02±8.0E+01 Plate Count
Tab.1  Physical, chemical, and biologic characteristics of groundwater wells
Fig.2  Comparison of Well 1 baseline biofilm, control biofilm, and treated biofilm densities. HP 1 is 1% H2O2, HP 6 is 6% H2O2, UV 30 is 30 min, UV 60 is 60 min, Oz 50 is 50% O3, Oz 100 is 100% O3. Error bars represent standard error of mean.
Fig.3  Comparison of Well 3 baseline biofilm, control biofilm, and treated biofilm densities.
treat N0 N0n N0 Std. err. NT NT n NTStd. err. BIF
(CFU·cm-2) # (CFU·cm-2) (CFU·cm-2) # (CFU·cm-2) log(N0/NT)
control 1 2.4E+ 04 6 ±7.1E+ 03 1.5E+ 03 9 ±1.8E+ 02 1.0-1.4
HP 1 1.5E+ 04 8 ±6.9E+ 03 7.9E-01 4 ±3.6E-01 3.8-4.7
HP 6 6.5E+ 03 6 ±8.5E+ 02 6.9E-01 5 ±2.1E-01 3.8-4.2
control 2 7.0E+ 03 5 ±1.1E+ 02 3.4E+ 03 8 ±3.1E+ 02 0.2-0.4
UV 30 8.5E+ 03 7 ±1.4E+ 03 2.4E+ 01 5 ±5.6E+ 00 2.4-2.7
UV 60 1.4E+ 03 5 ±9.4E+ 03 4.6E+ 01 7 ±9.4E+ 00 1.9-2.8
control 3 8.2E+ 03 9 ±2.2E+ 03 8.7E+ 02 7 ±1.3E+ 02 0.8-1.1
MIOX 6.5E+ 03 9 ±1.1E+ 03 1.7E+ 02 7 ±6.9E+ 01 1.4-1.9
Oz 50 1.6E+ 04 9 ±5.5E+ 03 2.0E+ 03 5 ±6.2E+ 02 0.6-1.2
Oz 100 1.2E+ 04 9 ±2.3E+ 03 1.3E+ 03 5 ±7.0E+ 01 0.8-1.1
Tab.2  Well 1 biofilm densities and biofilm inactivation factors (BIF)
treat N0 N0n N0 Std. err. NT NT n NTStd. err. BIF
(CFU·cm-2) # (CFU·cm-2) (CFU·cm-2) # (CFU·cm-2) log(N0/NT)
control 1 7.6E+ 02 4 ±1.9E+ 02 4.4E+ 01 9 ±1.5E+ 01 1.0-1.5
HP 1 6.4E+ 02 5 ±1.9E+ 02 6.7E+ 00 7 ±0.0E+ 00 1.8-2.1
HP 6 1.9E+ 03 7 ±3.5E+ 02 6.7E+ 00 9 ±0.0E+ 00 2.4-2.5
control 2 2.3E+ 02 7 ±3.7E+ 02 2.7E+ 01 9 ±8.3E+ 00 0.7-1.2
UV 30 4.4E+ 02 7 ±1.8E+ 02 8.3E+ 00 8 ±1.7E+ 00 1.4-2.8
UV 60 1.9E+ 02 6 ±7.3E+ 01 6.7E+ 00 8 ±0.0E+ 00 1.2-1.6
MIOX 1.6E+ 03 3 ±6.2E+ 02 8.3E+ 00 4 ±1.7E+ 00 2.0-2.5
control 3 3.8E+ 02 7 ±1.2E+ 02 1.7E+ 01 8 ±3.4E+ 00 1.1-1.6
Oz 50 3.1E+ 02 5 ±1.4E+ 02 1.3E+ 00 3 ±3.8E-01 2.0-2.7
Oz 100 6.9E+ 02 8 ±2.0E+ 02 7.1E+ 01 5 ±3.0E+ 01 0.7-1.3
Tab.3  Well 3 biofilm densities and treatment effects and biofilm inactivation factors (BIF)
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