A USDA study,"Biofilms in irrigation pipes affect the microbial quality of irrigation water," found substantial differences between E. coli in source water and water from sprinklers, leading the researchers to believe that “E. coli was released from the pipes’ inner surface to flowing water.” The study also found high E. coli concentrations “in the stagnant water residing in the pipes between irrigation events.”

What’s important for you to know is that biofilms “can modify the microbial water quality."

Meanwhile, an Oregon State University research paper, "Chlorine dioxide injection through drip irrigation reduces E.coli," determined that “chlorine dioxide exposure appeared to be almost instantaneously lethal to E.coli."

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There is clear support that biofilms (slime) can harbor bacteria and other pathogens. Biofilms are able to protect pathogens that inoculate irrigation water with diseases as water flows through drip, micro sprinkler, subsurface drip and other types of irrigation networks.  Biofilms can reside in crystalline mineral complexes found in low-flow irrigation networks.  Pathogens protected by the biofilm feed on source water minerals and/or fertilizers causing disease and water flow restriction.

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As water continues to become of limited supply and escalating cost, reclaiming drain water is an effective intervention to limit water use without sacrificing product quality. Unfortunately, drain water is usually heavily laden with disease that will contribute to biofilm formation and damage plants. SureFlow™ technologies are proven effective to help reduce the pathogen load in drain water, allowing valuable resources to be reused.

CH2O, Inc. is a leader in applying chlorine dioxide technologies to irrigation water for minimizing biofilm (slime) and crystalline mineral complexes that restrict water flow, passes disease to plants and may even spread infectious diseases to people. The Food Safety Modernization Act recommends protocols for irrigation water quality. CH2O, Inc. helps our clients to understand and mitigate issues for food safety and FSMA compliance...Making Water Work for You.