The Effects of Different Faucet Aerators on Bacterial Growth and Water Quality

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
Sustainable innovations aimed at protecting future generations from the effects of the global warming in addition to preserving precious natural resources such as water. Water conservation is one of the green building features, which may be achieved by using appropriate water saving plumbing fixtures like faucet aerators. Although benefit may be achieved by using such fixtures, there are also negative side effects to their use. This study was conducted in Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), to investigate the consequences of using different faucet aerators on bacterial re-growth which may compromise the quality of the water; and to check the deterioration of the efficiency of the aerators over the time. The study is based on experimental method. Four types of faucet aerators were used, and monitored every four weeks over a six month period. 120 water samples were collected from 16 faucet aerators, and there were also 3 control points which were under three different water pressures. The water tank was also tested. A Heterotrophic Plate count was used since it is a common indicator for the monitoring of microbiological water quality in distribution systems. The samples were tested in Dubai Municipality Central Laboratory. The water flow rates, pH and temperatures were measured in the field. The results revealed that, from cycle one to cycle four, the HPC bacteria concentration in the water tank exceeded the threshold level of 500 cfu/ml. Although the HPC concentration in the water tank dropped to a 4 level below 500 cfu/ml due to treatment from the main source, the HPC concentrations in the faucet aerators remained high. The study concluded that, water pressure less than 2.5 water bar has potential to enhance the growth of bacteria in the aerators. Furthermore, the aerators saved 20% to 80% of the water and that depended on the aerator types as well as the water pressure. Finally the research recommends that, a three month periodic maintenance for the aerators might avoid the accumulation of sediments, which were the main contributor to bacterial growth.
faucet aerators, bacterial growth, water quality, sustainable innovations, global warming, water conservation, green building, Dubai International Academic City (DIAC)