Bioresource Technology, Vol.254, 290-299, 2018
Assimilable organic carbon (AOC) variation in reclaimed water: Insight on biological stability evaluation and control for sustainable water reuse
This review highlights the importance of conducting biological stability evaluation due to water reuse progression. Specifically, assimilable organic carbon (AOC) has been identified as a practical indicator for microbial occurrence and regrowth which ultimately influence biological stability. Newly modified AOC bioassays aimed for reclaimed water are introduced. Since elevated AOC levels are often detected after tertiary treatment, the review emphasizes that actions can be taken to either limit AOC levels prior to disinfection or conduct post-treatment (e.g. biological filtration) as a supplement to chemical oxidation based approaches (e.g. ozonation and chlorine disinfection). During subsequent distribution and storage, microbial community and possible microbial regrowth caused by complex interactions are discussed. It is suggested that microbial surveillance, AOC threshold values, real-time field applications and surrogate parameters could provide additional information. This review can be used to formulate regulatory plans and strategies, and to aid in deriving relevant control, management and operational guidance.