Conventional filtration practices typically operate with a pre-chlorination step for the disinfection of harmful pathogens. Without pre-chlorination, biofilters will develop, which are capable of reducing the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) and can decrease bacterial regrowth in the distribution system. However, concerns, particularly in North America, still exist with the implementation of biofiltration and there is a lack of side-by-side comparisons with pre-chlorinated filters in literature. A pilot scale study comparing conventional and biological dual media anthracite/sand filters was conducted to assess their performance under warm (15–25 °C) and cold (0–5 °C) water conditions. The filters were operated under various backwash conditions, including the addition of air scour and extended terminal subfluidization wash (ETSW). The biofilter effluent exhibited significantly lower (p < 0.05) DBP formations under both temperature conditions, with trihalomethanes (TTHM) and haloacetic acids (HAA9) concentrations 33–35% and 36–46% lower than the conventional filters, respectively. There was no significant difference when it came to particle passage or turbidity during ripening for both filter types, however the conventional filter proved to be more vulnerable to changes in terms of particles between backwashes. The biofilter exhibited greater average headloss development by 8.8 cm and 4.5 cm under warm and cold water conditions, respectively. Biofilter headloss was found to be minimized by 18% when applying air scour and ETSW during backwash compared to water only, under warm temperature conditions.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Piche, A. (Ashley), Campbell, A. (Andy), Douglas, I. (Ian), & Basu, O. (2019). Analyzing the performance of biological versus conventional drinking water filtration under warm and cold water conditions: A pilot scale study. Chemosphere, 234, 52–61. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.05.180