Statistical Evaluation of the Factors causing Microbial Growth in Point-of-use Filters
Due to the lead spike and its related health concern in the DC area, Point-of-Use (POU) filters were installed at public schools to reduce lead concentrations in water. However, the installation of POU filter could possibly lead to the growth of bacteria inside the filters, which could lead to health concerns. Therefore, the potential effects of POU filters on microbial growth was investigated. To explore the cause of filter effects on microbial growth, a sampling campaign was carried out between July and December 2017 from 25 outlets within 5 elementary schools in the DC area. The applicability of flow cytometry results as a quantification method was validated and then used to quantify the biological growth. Our results revealed that the installation of POU filters may lead to nitrification and an increase in microbial growth. Along with the increase in microbial growth, the microorganism community "fingerprints" based on flow cytometry data showed that the installation of filter could also shift the community distribution of bacteria based on their morphology. This study serves as a preliminary study to investigate the mechanics of microbial colonization on POU filters.