Important Notice to Berkey Customers

January 21st, 2023

If you have purchased Black Berkey replacement elements from Watermatters™ since August 2021 that you have stored for future use, or if your elements are in use and ... More »

Biofilm: Bacterial Colonies in Water Supply Lines

Biofilm in water pipe

Biofilm in water pipe

Biofilms are bacterial colonies that form when bacteria adhere to surfaces in wet environments and begin to excrete a slimy substance that ‘glues’ them to all types of internal and external surfaces including water lines, medical devices and living tissues.

A biofilm colony grows into a firmly anchored matrix that is difficult to displace and which provides adhesion sites for more bacteria and pathogens.

Bacteria within the biofilm colony communicate by quorum sensing. When the communication becomes strong enough the bacteria start behaving as a group.

Chlorine does not stop biofilm

Biofilm develops in water distribution lines including city water mains. Chlorine is not effective at penetrating and destroying biofilm. Regular high-powered flushing is used to break up biofilm colonies inside city water lines.


Preventing biofilm in water supplied within residential complexes

Water lines within building complexes such as condominiums and townhouses are prone to biofilm buildup unless flushed regularly to prevent and dislodge the development of biofilm colonies.

Water filters do not remove biofilm

If you find slime on your water filter cartridges chances are you have biofilm in your incoming water. Water filters will be quickly fouled by biofilm and cannot be expected to remove biofilm. Biofilm must be removed at the source of the problem with regular flushing of water lines and a water management program that inhibits the regrowth of biofilm.