Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) and Precursors in Drinking Water for EPA Compliance

Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are formed when Natural Organic Matter (NOM) in water react with disinfectants added to kill bacteria in water treatment plants. DBPs are known to have adverse effects on human health. (Reference:

Environmental water researchers use the HORIBA Aqualog to track fluorescence fingerprints of NOM in water, also known as the precursors of the DBPs, to quickly predict, identify and optimize the organics removal, in order to mitigate the occurrence of the DBPs formation and to ensure compliance with increasingly stringent drinking water quality regulations. Click here to go to the Aqualog - Environmental Water Research Analyzer product page. 

Drinking water treatment plants that primarily use surface water sourcesare commonly subject to significant variations in the Total Organic Carbon (TOC) in often unpredictable patterns associated with rainfall, snow-melt and other events that influence sporadic drainage of organic materials into the source water. TOC removal requirements are regulated because certain components are precursors to toxic disinfection by-products (DBPs) that may react over time in the distribution system with halogenated disinfectants. The regulated DBPs include trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) which are suspected carcinogens. TOC removal is regulated as a function of alkalinity which influences the ability to remove TOC with coagulants. Conventional monitoring of treatability usually involves TOC determination which may also be coupled with the UVA to determine the specific UV absorbance or SUVA-TOC according to EPA method 415.3. The reagent-free Aqualog method quickly generates a complete UV-VIS absorbance spectrum and fluorescence EEM which together contain the information required to evaluate the TOC composition and most importantly the aromatic composition of the TOC associated with the treatability regulations (SUVA-TOC) and the the Simulated Distribution System Trihalomethane (THM) Formation Potential (SDS-THMFP).

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