Combined effects of seasonality and stagnation on tap water quality: Changes in chemical parameters, metabolic activity and co-existence in bacterial community

Haihan Zhang*, Lei Xu, Tinglin Huang, Miaomiao Yan, Kaiwen Liu, Yutian Miao, Huiyan He, Sulin Li, Raju Sekar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


In drinking water distribution pipeline systems, the tap water quality is regulated by several biotic and abiotic factors, which can threaten the health of consumers. Stagnation is inevitable in the water distribution pipeline however, the combined effects of seasonal changes and stagnation on tap water quality are not well understood. Here, we investigated the seasonal variations in the chemical and biological quality of water after overnight stagnation for a period of one year. The results showed that the tap water quality deteriorated after overnight stagnation, with up to a 2.7-fold increase in the total iron concentrations. The total bacterial cell concentrations increased by 59–231% after overnight stagnation. The total cell and cell-bound adenosine triphosphate (ATP) of the stagnant water samples peaked in summer. In addition, Biolog analysis showed that the metabolic activities of microbes were higher in spring. The bacterial community based on Illumina Miseq DNA sequence analysis found that Proteobacteria dominated the drinking water bacterial community. The bacterial community structure varied significantly among different seasons, where the diversity and richness of the community were much higher in spring. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was constructed to determine the correlations between bacterial metabolic functions and the community structure. The redundancy analysis (RDA) indicated that the residual chlorine played a critical role in the construction of the bacterial community. Altogether, the overall findings from the present work provide novel insights into how the quality of tap water quality impacted by the seasonal changes and overnight stagnation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number124018
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2021


  • Carbon source metabolic activity
  • Co-existence of bacterial community
  • Drinking water system
  • Illumina DNA sequencing
  • Structural equation modeling (SEM)

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