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Dissolved organic carbon and trihalomethane precursor removal at a UK upland water treatment works
Science of The Total Environment, Volume: 468-469, Pages: 228 - 239
Swansea University Author: Peter Holliman
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The removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during potable water treatment is important for maintaining aesthetic water quality standards, minimising concentrations of micro-pollutants, controlling bacterial regrowth within distribution systems and, crucially, because it contains a sub-component t...
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The removal of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) during potable water treatment is important for maintaining aesthetic water quality standards, minimising concentrations of micro-pollutants, controlling bacterial regrowth within distribution systems and, crucially, because it contains a sub-component that can act as trihalomethane (THM) precursors. In this study, the concentration and characteristics of raw water DOC and THM formation potential (THMFP) entering an upland potable water treatment works were analysed over twelve months. Correlations between raw water DOC characteristics, standardised THMFP (STHMFP) and % DOC removal were also investigated. DOC and THM precursor removal during a series of treatment stages was examined over this period, as well as potential selectivity in the removal of DOC fractions, to assess the importance of different treatment stages for DOC removal and THM amelioration. Though THMFP removal remained high and fairly stable throughout the study period (83–89%), the data suggest that this was mostly the result of high DOC removal rates rather than the selective removal of THM precursors. Whilst this chemical agnosticism makes DOC removal more robust, it may make the overall process more vulnerable to exceeding permissible THM concentrations under changing climatic conditions. The kinetics of the reaction between DOC and chlorine appeared to vary seasonally, indicating temporal changes in the proportions of fast- and slow-reacting precursors with implications for THM concentrations at the point of delivery to the consumer. The initial treatment stages, comprising coagulation–flocculation and dissolved air floatation (DAF) were by far the most important in terms of bulk DOC removal and the preferential removal of THM precursors, though, surprisingly, DOC quality was also modified following chlorination and secondary rapid gravity filtration (RGF). Though net THM concentration decreased following initial treatment stages, a doubling in the proportion of brominated THMs (BrTHMs), which are reported to be more carcinogenic, was also observed.
Coagulation, Dissolved organic carbon, Size exclusion chromatography, Trihalomethanes, XAD fractionation
College of Engineering