Special Issue "Evaluation of Invertebrates in Drinking Water Networks"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Water Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Günter Gunkel
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
INWERT Institute for Biological Drinking Water Quality, 45721 Haltern am See, Germany
Interests: limnology; reservoir management; tropical limnology; bank filtration; drinking water inhabitants

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Drinking water quality is threatened by raw water contamination as well as by the insufficient biological water stability during distribution in the drinking water networks. This includes the outflow of organic carbon (DOC, organisms) from the water treatment plant and the growth of biofilm and, of high significance, the development of a pipe invertebrate community. Most of the pipe inhabitants found in drinking water systems are typical freshwater organisms that do not occur in raw water are also therefore not typical for drinking water treatment filters. Frequency of macroinvertebrate introduction into drinking water networks is rare; the main problem is growth and mass development of introduced species and  their propagation within the network. Harmful species are water lice, snails, chironomids, worms (oligochaetes, nematodes), water fleas, ciliates, and naked amoebae, among others.

Knowledge about this invertebrate community in drinking water networks is still scarce, and challenges and focus of this SI are (1) detection of the pipe inhabitants by hydrant sampling or eDNA, (2) population dynamic analyses to determine growth, life cycle, and fertility of the species, (3) evaluation of harmful effects and health risks, (4) development of target limiting values, (5) development of effective pipe flushing methods, and (6) development of an adapted pipe management for sustainable control of regrowth of pipe inhabitants.

In many countries, the harmful effects of invertebrates in drinking water networks are increasing due to increasing water temperature (climate change effect), decreasing water consumption (oversized pipes), and linkage of potential harmful microbes (e.g. Pseudomonas aeruginosa) with the invertebrate community.

Dr. Günter Gunkel
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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  • biological drinking water quality
  • drinking water network
  • invertebrates
  • asellus aquaticus
  • biofouling
  • pipe flushing
  • biological stability
  • climate change effect

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Climate change - Invertebrate Propagation in Drinking Water Distribution Systems, Effects and Risk Assessment

Günter Gunkel & Ute Michels, Germany

Abstract: This paper provides a summary of the knowledge and challenges concerning development of invertebrates in drinking water distribution systems (DWDS). In nearly all DWDS macro- and meioinvertebrates were found. Data about diversity and abundance point out clearly a high probability of mass development and invertebrate monitoring must be focus of any DWDS management. DWDS water temperature is increasing by climate change effects, and as a consequence growth and reproduction of invertebrates is increasing, too. Seasonal development of a chironomid (Paratanytarus grimmii) and longtime development of water lice (Asellus aquaticus) are given. Due to increased water temperature a 3rd generation of water lice per year is observed, being one reason of the observed mass development. Mote research is needed especially on (i) water temperature monitoring in drinking water distribution systems, (ii) invertebrate development and (iii) health risk.

2. Invertebrates, microbial growth and Aeromonas in transport and distribution pipes of non-chlorinated drinking water distribution systems

Wim Hijnen, Leonie Marang, Julia Wunderer, Anke Brouwer, Friso Snijder, Andries van Eckeveld and Arco Wagenvoort, the Netherlands.

Abstract: Distribution of drinking water without persistent chlorination is common practice in The Netherlands. Evides Water Company stopped distribution of chlorinated drinking water in 2006. This resulted in lower customer complaints and tri-halomethane concentrations, but also in a slow but steady increase of Aeromonas numbers and heterotrophic plate counts (HPC), both legislative Dutch standards for microbial regrowth. This indicates that the distributed drinking water was not biologically stable. Extended monitoring has been conducted by sampling drinking water, loose deposits and biofilms. The objective was to describe and understand the spatial and temporal variation of microbial regrowth and diversity of invertebrates in transport and distribution pipes of full-scale distribution systems.

3. Species diversity and biomass of the invertebrate fauna in nine non-chlorinated full-scale drinking water distribution systems

Arco J Wagenvoort, Henk Ketelaars, Marjolein Peters, Julia Wunderer, Hein van Lieverloo, Mette Wagenvoort and Wim Hijnen, the Netherlands

Abstract:  In an eight-year study the species composition and biomass development of invertebrates were investigated in the finished water of nine drinking water treatment plants using surface water, dune water and ground water and their connected drinking water distribution systems (DWDS). These systems differ with respect to (i) their finished water biostability and the quantity and the quality of dissolved organic carbon in the finished water and (ii) with the microbial water quality in their DWDS. Invertebrate biomass of the finished drinking waters of the surface water treatment plants was significantly higher than in the finished waters of the other treatment plants. Species composition of the invertebrates in the finished drinking waters differs a lot from that in the distribution systems. After treatment the taxa in the finished water are characterized by their asexual reproduction in a turbulent environment. The species found in DWDS’s are known to be present in ground or subsurface water or stagnant or slow flowing waters and have a benthic mode of life and many reproduce sexually.

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