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Innovative drinking water treatment techniques reduce the disinfection-induced oxidative stress and genotoxic activity
- Lundqvist, Johan, Andersson, Anna, Johannisson, Anders, Lavonen, Elin, Mandava, Geeta, Kylin, Henrik, Bastviken, David, Oskarsson, Agneta
- Water research 2019 v.155 pp. 182-192
- absorbance, activated carbon, aromatic compounds, byproducts, ceramics, chemical analysis, chlorination, chlorine, coagulation, disinfection, dissolved organic carbon, drinking water, drinking water treatment, genotoxicity, ion exchange, microfiltration, micronucleus tests, mutagens, oxidative stress, ozonation
- Disinfection of drinking water using chlorine can lead to the formation of genotoxic by-products when chlorine reacts with natural organic matter (NOM). A vast number of such disinfection by-products (DBPs) have been identified, making it almost impossible to routinely monitor all DBPs with chemical analysis. In this study, a bioanalytical approach was used, measuring oxidative stress (Nrf2 activity), genotoxicity (micronucleus test), and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) activation to evaluate an innovative water treatment process, including suspended ion exchange, ozonation, in-line coagulation, ceramic microfiltration, and granular activated carbon. Chlorination was performed in laboratory scale after each step in the treatment process in order to investigate the effect of each treatment process to the formation of DBPs. Suspended ion exchange had a high capacity to remove dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and to decrease UV absorbance and Nrf2 activity in non-chlorinated water. High-dose chlorination (10 mg Cl2 L−1) of raw water caused a drastic induction of Nrf2 activity, which was decreased by 70% in water chlorinated after suspended ion exchange. Further reduction of Nrf2 activity following chlorination was achieved by ozonation and the concomitant treatment steps. The ozonation treatment resulted in decreased Nrf2 activity in spite of unchanged DOC levels. However, a strong correlation was found between UV absorbing compounds and Nrf2 activity, demonstrating that Nrf2 inducing DBPs were formed from pre-cursors of a specific NOM fraction, constituted of mainly aromatic compounds. Moreover, high-dose chlorination of raw water induced genotoxicity. In similarity to the DOC levels, UV absorbance and Nrf2 activity, the disinfection-induced genotoxicity was also reduced by each treatment step of the innovative water treatment technique. AhR activity was observed in the water produced by the conventional process and in the raw water, but the activity was clearly decreased by the ozonation step in the innovative water treatment process.