Biological stability in drinking water distribution systems

New insight in treatment and distribution

Biological stability of drinking water is important to provide water that is microbiologically safe and pleasant to drink to the consumers. This is particularly relevant in drinking water distribution systems where water is delivered without maintaining a disinfectant residual, like in the Netherlands.

In this course, we will discuss the different aspects involved in biological stability of drinking water, at source, treatment, and distribution levels. Methods applied to evaluate biological stability will be described and their application addressed with examples from practice.

Experts from both academia and from water utilities will describe latest knowledge on critical parameters impacting biological stability.

Biologically stable drinking water

In this course, participants will learn about the following topics:

  • What is biological stability of drinking water?
  • What are the basic elements controlling microbial growth in drinking water?
  • What are methods to assess and study biological stability?
  • What are the factors influencing biological stability at source and treatment levels?
  • What are the factors influencing biological stability at  distribution level?

Meant for

Drinking water professionals, including project managers, advisors, process technologists, researchers concerned with water quality issues.

Share this page

  • Information
    Trainer: Mevr. E. Prest (PWNT)
    Course data: March 2025 (Definitive dates will be announced in march 2024)
    Location: Amsterdam and KWR
    Easily reachable by public transport and by car
    Price: € 1,590.00 ex. vat
    Price is inclusive course material, lab tour and catering. This is an IWA supported course and IWA members will receive 15% discount. PhD's will also receive discount and 5 graduate school credits as well.
    Timetable information: Day course from 9:00-17:00
    In cooperation with: IWA
    The program will be taught in English.
  • Program

    Day 1: Introduction and methods

    • Introduction round participants
    • Course introduction / general introduction on Biological stability
    • Overview of essential processes implied in biological stability
    • Methods to monitor and evaluate biological stability
    • Questions and discussion                       
    • Introduction to group exercises
    • Group exercises and presentations by each group
    • Closing day 1 and summary

    Day 2: Impact of water treatment and distribution conditions                   

    • Impact of water source and water treatment on biological stability
    • Impact of temperature, residence time and residual disinfectant on microbial growth
    • Impact of hydraulics / sediment
    • Closing day 2 and summary
    • Site visit to a treatment plant

    Day 3: Microbial dynamics in drinking water distribution systems and premise plumbings

    • Interaction between different phases (bulk water, sediment, biofilm)
    • Food chain in drinking water pipes 
    • Aeromonas growth mechanism
    • Questions and discussion
    • Opportunistic pathogens / link with biostability / safety
    • Building plumbings
    • Questions and discussion
    • Wrap up & course evaluation
  • Reviews
    This course is assessed with a 9.3
    “I really enjoy the organisation and the diversity of the course and exchange between participants.”
    Alexis Martin (Eau de Paris)
    “The course gave me the opportunity to place my research into the context of the drinking water problems that nowadays affect our society. It was a great opportunity to meet and listen to well known researchers in the field of drinking water treatment and distribution.”
    Valentina Attiani (Wageningen University & Research)
    “The course was nice and well organised: the follow-up of content was well chosen.”
    Rik de Vries (Waterlaboratorium Noord)