Premise plumbing (PP) systems have a number of characteristics that favour microbial growth, in both the water phase and the drinking water biofilms on the pipe surfaces. Drinking water biofilms, in particular, have been implicated an infectious source in these systems by supporting the complex ecology, persistence and increased pathogenicity of waterborne opportunistic pathogens (OPs) like Legionella spp and nontuberculous Mycobacterium (NTM). Such OPs may be transmitted through contaminated aerosols released by drinking water outlets to downstream users and susceptible individuals, leading to severe health implications.

There is currently limited understanding of the biofilm ecology in real systems; thus, the project aims to further improve an understanding of the ecology of OPs in premise plumbing, as well as provide recommendations for the control strategies implemented to control Legionella and NTM in premise plumbing systems.


  • The University of Queensland
  • Queensland Health
  • CSIRO IDR and AMR Mission-Affiliated Projects
  • Water Research Australia


  • Queensland Health
  • Child Health Research Centre
  • The Prince Charles Hospital
  • Greenslopes Critical Unit
  • CSIRO Land & Water
  • Metro North Public Health Unit
  • Griffith University


  • Casey K. Huang, Anjani Weerasekara, Philip L. Bond, Karen D. Weynberg, Jianhua Guo♯. Characterizing the premise plumbing microbiome in both water and biofilms of a 50-year-old building. Science of The Total Environment. 2021, 798, 149225.

Conference abstracts

  • Huang, C.K., Weerasekara, A., Weynberg, K.D., and Bond, P.L. The Australian Society for Microbiology (ASM) Annual Scientific Meeting 2018, 01-04 July 2018, Brisbane, Australia. Poster presentation. Title: The enemy of my enemy is my friend: eliminating Legionella in premise plumbing biofilms using bacteriophages.
  • Huang, C.K., Weerasekara, A., Weynberg, K.D., and Bond, P.L. Australian Microbial Ecology Conference (AusME19), 11-13 February 2019, Perth, Australia. Oral presentation in the “Engineered Systems” session. Title: Biofilm Ecology in the premise plumbing of drinking water distribution systems.
  • Huang, C.K., Weerasekara, A., Bond, P.L., Weynberg, K.D. and Guo, J. 8th IWA Microbial Ecology and Water Engineering (MEWE2019) Specialist Conference. 17-20 November 2019. Hiroshima, Japan. Poster presentation. Title: Biofilm ecology within the premise plumbing of a drinking water distribution system.
  • Huang, C.K., Weerasekara, A., Bond, P.L., Weynberg, K.D. and Guo, J. 2020 AWA/IWA Australian-New Zealand Young Water Professionals (YWP) Conference. 12-13 March 2020. Brisbane, Australia. Oral presentation in the “Treatment Technologies” session. Title: Biofilm ecology within a premise plumbing microbiome.

Project members

Professor Jianhua Guo

Professor and UQ Amplify Fellow
Australian Centre for Water and Environmental Biotechnology