Although the efficacy of chlorine disinfection under controlled laboratory conditions is well known, the effectiveness of chlorine under field point-of-use (POU) conditions is still not clearly understood and may be impacted by a variety of factors. This study evaluated the effectiveness of POU chlorine disinfection in rural Ecuador under typical use conditions and compared this effectiveness with the efficacy in controlled laboratory conditions. While reductions of indicator organisms were slightly higher in households that used chlorination, no significant differences were seen between households employing POU chlorination and the households with no chlorination (1-1.5 log10 median reductions for chlorinating households and 0.31-0.55 log10 for nonchlorinating households, depending on the indicator organism). In contrast, significant reduction of all test organisms was found when simulating POU conditions in the laboratory. This study demonstrates that POU chlorination can be considerably less effective under actual field conditions than would be predicted based on its laboratory efficacy (3-5 log10 median reductions for chlorinated and 0-0.3 log10 for nonchlorinated samples). Human factors (including improper storage and chlorine dosing) and uncontrolled water quality effects are hypothesized to impact significantly the effectiveness of chlorine disinfection.
McLaughlin LA, Levy K, Beck NK, Shin GA, Meschke JS, Eisenberg JN. (2009). An observational study on the effectiveness of point-of-use chlorination. Journal of environmental health, 71(8)