Building water quality deterioration during water supply restoration after interruption: Influences of premise plumbing configuration

Mingchen Yao, Yue Zhang, Zihan Dai, Anran Ren, Jiaxing Fang, Xiaoming Li, Walter van der Meer, Gertjan Medema, Joan B. Rose, Gang Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Premise plumbing plays an essential role in determining the final quality of drinking water consumed by customers. However, little is known about the influences of plumbing configuration on water quality changes. This study selected parallel premise plumbing in the same building with different configurations, i.e., laboratory and toilet plumbing. Water quality deteriorations induced by premise plumbing under regular and interrupted water supply were investigated. The results showed that most of the water quality parameters did not vary under regular supply, except Zn, which was significantly increased by laboratory plumbing (78.2 to 260.7 µg/l). For the bacterial community, the Chao1 index was significantly increased by both plumbing types to a similar level (52 to 104). Laboratory plumbing significantly changed the bacterial community, but toilet plumbing did not. Remarkably, water supply interruption/restoration led to serious water quality deterioration in both plumbing types but resulted in different changes. Physiochemically, discoloration was observed only in laboratory plumbing, along with sharp increases in Mn and Zn. Microbiologically, the increase in ATP was sharper in toilet plumbing than in laboratory plumbing. Some opportunistic pathogen-containing genera, e.g., Legionella spp. and Pseudomonas spp., were present in both plumbing types but only in disturbed samples. This study highlighted the esthetic, chemical, and microbiological risks associated with premise plumbing, for which system configuration plays an important role. Attention should be given to optimizing premise plumbing design for managing building water quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120149
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Discoloration
  • Premise plumbing
  • System configuration
  • Water quality deterioration
  • Water supply restoration

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