Some aspects of deep-bed filtration dynamics in QMRA for drinking water
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonWater Research, Volume 170, 1 March 2020, 115365 10.1016/j.watres.2019.115365
Unlike most unit processes in drinking water treatment, the performance of deep-bed filtration processes vary systematically on short time-scales; the particle removal capacity changes with time since the previous backwash, even when the influent water quality is stable. For microorganisms, the removal efficiency may vary by orders of magnitude. In this note, the potential impact of such dynamics on microbial risk estimates is studied, using representative experimental filtration data for viruses and bacteria in conjunction with single-hit dose-response models for microbial infection. Assuming that filtration is the only source of variation in pathogen concentrations on the time-scale of a single filter cycle, it is concluded that such variations are unlikely to substantially affect risk estimates, except possibly in an outbreak situation with extremely high pathogen concentrations; it is generally sufficient to know the mean pathogen concentrations. Future studies should include concurrent variation in the performance of other unit processes and raw water pathogen concentrations. Experimental work should focus on capturing the variation in filtration performance in order to correctly estimate mean removal rates.