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Occurrence of swampy/septic odor and possible odorants in source and finished drinking water of major cities across China
- Wang, Chunmiao, Yu, Jianwei, Guo, Qingyuan, Sun, Daolin, Su, Ming, An, Wei, Zhang, Yu, Yang, Min
- Environmental pollution 2019 v.249 pp. 305-310
- 2-methylisoborneol, Cyanobacteria, algae, cities, dimethyl disulfide, drinking water, drinking water treatment, geosmin, lakes, odor compounds, odors, rivers, statistical analysis, water quality, water utilities, China
- Swampy/septic odors are one of the most important odor types in drinking water. However, few studies have specifically focused on it compared to the extensive reported musty/earthy odor problems, even though the former is much more offensive. In this study, an investigation covering the odor characteristics, algal distribution and possible odorants contributing to swampy/septic odor, including dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS), diisopropyl sulfide (DIPS), dipropyl sulfide (DPS), dibutyl sulfide (DBS), 2-methylisoborneol (2-MIB) and geosmin (GSM), was performed in source and finished water of 56 drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs) in 31 cities across China. While the musty/earthy and swampy/septic odors were dominant odor descriptors, the river source water exhibited a higher proportion of swampy/septic odor (38.5%) compared to much higher detection rate of musty/earthy odor (50.0%) in the lake/reservoir source water. The occurrence of swampy/septic odor, which was much easier to remove by conventional drinking water treatment processes compared to musty/earthy odors, was decreased by 62.9% and 46.3% in river and lake/reservoir source water respectively. Statistical analysis showed that thioethers might be responsible for the swampy/septic odor in source water (R2 = 0.75, p < 0.05). Specifically, two thioethers, DMDS and DMTS were detected, and other thioethers were not found in all water samples. DMDS was predominant with a maximum odor activity value (OAV) of 2.0 in source water and 1.3 in finished water. The distribution of the thioethers exhibited a marked regional characteristics with higher concentrations being detected in the east and south parts of China. The high concentrations of thioethers in lake/reservoir source water samples could be partly interpreted as the bloom of the cyanobacteria. This study provides basic information for swampy/septic odor occurrence in drinking water and will be helpful for further water quality management in water industry in China.