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The American Society of Plumbing Engineers Research Foundation is studying the growth, accumulation and detachment of biofilm and planktonic bacteria in both electronic and automatic faucets. The American Society of Sanitary Engineering recently made a donation to help fund the research.
The question, “Are electronic faucets more or less sanitary than manual faucets when all other variable are controlled?” has arisen from a field study conducted by John Hopkins Hospital. The ASPE RF, in conjunction with Montana State University Center for Biofilm Engineering, will assess biofilm and opportunistic pathogen growth in both manual and automatic faucets under identical flow conditions, based on realistic use patterns, in a controlled laboratory environment over a four-month period.
The data from these tests will help to develop a timeline of bacterial growth within these faucets and provide empirical data relative to whether the faucet valve plays a significant role in bacterial loading.
Data generated from these tests will be essential for the future research of system variables that play a role in biofilm growth and could ultimately lead to empirical-based recommendations for improvements in faucet design and maintenance.