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DBP Levels in Chlorinated Drinking Water: Effect of Humic Substances

Nikolaou, Anastasia D., Golfinopoulos, Spyros K., Lekkas, Themistokles D., Kostopoulou, Maria N.
Environmental monitoring and assessment 2004 v.93 no.1-3 pp. 301-319
autumn, byproducts, chloral hydrate, chlorination, chlorine, dibromoacetic acid, dichloroacetic acid, disinfection, drinking water, fulvic acids, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid-liquid extraction, seasonal variation, spring, statistical analysis, trichloroacetic acid, variance, water treatment, Greece
Chlorination is the most widely used technique for disinfection of drinking water. A consequence of chlorination is the formation of Disinfection By-Products (DBPs). The formation of DBPs in drinking water results from the reaction of chlorine with naturally occurring organic materials, principally humic and fulvic acids. This paper focuses on the effect of humic substances on the formation of twenty-four compounds belonging to different categories of DBPs. This investigation was conducted in two water treatment plants in Greece, Menidi and Galatsi, from July 1999 to April 2000. Humic substances were determined by the diethylaminoethyl (DEAE) method with subsequent UV measurement. The techniques used for the determination of DBPs were liquid-liquid extraction, gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. The concentrations of DBPs were generally low. Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) ranged from 5.1 to 24.6 μg L⁻¹, and total haloacetic acids (HAAs) concentration ranged from 8.6 to 28.4 μg L⁻¹, while haloaketones (HKs) and chloral hydrate (CH) occurred below 1 μg L⁻¹. The content of humic substances was found to influence the formation of DBPs and especially TTHMs, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), dibromoacetic acid (DBA), CH, 1,1-dichloropropanone (1,1-DCP) and 1,1,1-trichloropropanone (1,1,1-TCP). Seasonal variation of TTHMs and HAAs generally followed that of humic substances content with peaks occurring in autumn and spring. The trends of 1,1-DCP, 1,1,1-TCP and CH formation seemed to be in contrast to TTHMs and HAAs. Trends of formation of individual compounds varied in some cases, probably due to influence of parameters other than humic substances content. Statistical analysis of the results showed that the concentrations of TTHMs, CH, 1,1-DCP, 1,1,1-TCP, TCA and DBA are strongly affected from humic substances content (at 0.01 confidence level). The opposite is true for dichloroacetic acid (DCA) concentration. Humic substances also vary to a statistically significant degree during different months, as well as the concentrations of TTHMs, CH, 1,1-DCP, 1,1,1-TCP, TCA and DCA. The variance of DBA was not statistically significant. Regarding the effect of sampling station, humic substances content showed no statistically significant difference between the two raw water sources studied.