Continuous and batch laboratory experiments were used to evaluate the combined effects of copper and chloramine on ammonia oxidizing microbes present in otherwise high nitrifying water samples. The experimental data were analyzed using a biostability concept and quantified with the biostable residual concentratrion (BRC) of monochloramine, or the concentration that prevents the onset of nitrification. In the batch experiments, copper dosing ≥0.25mg-CuL-1 resulted in complete inhibition of nitrification, and a lower copper dosing (0.1mg-CuL-1) delayed nitrification. The BRC was systematically lowered with the addition of copper. For example, a free-ammonium concentration of 0.1mg-NL-1 had a BRC of 0.73mg-Cl2L-1 with no Cu, but addition of 0.1mg-CuL-1 lowered the BRC to 0.16mg-Cl2L-1, while addition of 0.25mg-CuL-1 eliminated the need to add chloramine (BRC=0). A non-competitive inhibition model fit the experimental data well with a copper threshold of 0.044mg-CuL-1 and can be used to estimate Cu doses needed to prevent nitrification based on the chloramine concentration. Full scale systems applications need further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)190-197
Number of pages8
JournalWater Research
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • Ammonium oxidising bacteria
  • Biostable residual concentration
  • Chloramine
  • Copper
  • Inhibition
  • Nitrification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Pollution
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


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