BIOSTABLE: safe drinking water now and in the future

01 October 2020 → 30 September 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Analytical separation and detection techniques
    • Aquatic chemistry
  • Engineering and technology
    • Environmental biotechnology diagnostics
    • Environmental microorganism biotechnology
    • Environmental technologies
    • Resources engineering
    • Sustainable development
drinking water
Project description

The goal of BIOSTABLE is to provide safe and tasty drinking water to all Flemish inhabitants now and in the future. Whereas currently quality control is guaranteed, several factors will influence drinking water use and quality in the Flemish region e.g. consumers are encouraged to rationalize their water use, a possible decentralization of water production facilities, climate change leads to possible higher temperatures, changes in organic matter, increase in biological growth and the use of non-conventional water sources. These elements lead to different mixing patterns and longer residence times at higher temperatures in the distribution network. This can ultimately lead to the re-growth of unwanted micro-organisms leading to undesirable taste and odour of the water or, even worse, pathogen out-growth.

Expected outcomes:

  • Infrastructure for testing drinkwater distribution
  • A novel method for fractionation of organic compounds in water
  • New targeted and non-targeted chemical screening methods to measure trace levels of volatile organic compounds in drinking water.
  • Understanding of which fractions of organic material can lead to microbial re-growth or in combination with disinfection formation of unwanted taste and odour components and disinfection by-products
  • Understanding biostability and strategies to operate a biostable distribution network without residual chlorine disinfection.
  • Models compatible with commercial InfoWorks software for understanding and prediction of re-growth/biofilm development

With BIOSTABLE, we aim at providing the entire public Flemish drinking water sector with robust tools for the future. This means that also the smaller companies, which lack their research departments, can benefit from the outcomes of this work. This is made possible by including AquaFlanders in the advisory committee as spokes organization for all drinking water companies. Knowledge gained within the project will also be of benefit for regulatory institutions that are moving to a risk-based assessment of drinking water systems.