Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

To examine how warm ambient water temperatures and recycled water influence the building plumbing microbiome

  • Amount $250,000
  • City Blacksburg, VA
  • Investigator Amy Pruden
  • Year 2016
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Microbiology of the Built Environment

Drinking water regulations focus on the quality of the water coming out of the water treatment plant, but water can pick up bacteria and other microbes as it travels from the plant to the faucet.  Since 2012, the Foundation has supported researchers at Virginia Tech to characterize the plumbing microbiome and how it affects the microbial profile of household water. This two-year grant continues Foundation support for this work.  Professors Amy Pruden and Marc Edwards at Virginia Tech have designed a series of experiments to explore how warm (30°C) ambient water temperatures and use of recycled water influence the building plumbing microbiome. Over the next two years, they will use complementary batch and continuous flow experiments to study how water temperature affects abundance and diversity among bacteria and amoebae in household water and whether recycled water’s distinct chemistry (relative to potable water) causes greater proliferation of bacteria and free-living amoebae in bulk water and biofilms. The Virginia Tech team will share their findings through peer-reviewed papers and presentations at national and international conferences and through blog posts and other social media. The sequence data will be deposited in public databases. At least one student and two postdoctoral fellows will be trained under the grant.

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