Even with effective drinking water treatment, microbial growth in the household is inevitable and can lead to problems for consumers, including risk of opportunistic pathogen exposure. In a project funded through a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie actions Initial Training Network focused on Microbial Resource Management and Engineering Mermaid, we are exploring biofilms and growth dynamics in household drinking water systems. We concentrate on shower hoses as they offer a versatile sampling site with high potential for microbial growth and high potential risk to consumers.
Our aim is to identify the major drivers of growth and community composition in this unique environment, with an emphasis on material choice. By identifying these driving factors, one can move towards managing the drinking water microbiome safely and sustainably.
As part of an ongoing outreach effort, and as a product of a round-table we led at the IWA Biofilms 2015 Conference and we maintain a wiki and blog on the Microbi-home, the microbial communities in premise plumbing systems.