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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


CHOWDHURY, Shakhawat. Trihalomethanes in drinking water: effect of natural organic matter distribution. Water SA [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 1816-7950.

Effects of distribution of natural organic matter (NOM) on formation and distribution of trihalomethanes (THMs) in municipal water were investigated. Water samples were fractionated using serial ultrafiltration with membranes of molecular weight cut-off (MWCO) values of 500, 1 000 and 3 000 Da. The resulting 4 fractions of water with NOM of (i) < 500 Da; (ii) 500 Da - 1 kDa; (iii) 1 kDa - 3 kDa; and (iv) > 3 kDa were separated. Variable amounts of bromide ion (0, 40, 80, 120 and 200 µg/l were added to these samples. The samples were chlorinated at pH of 6 and 8.5 and held at 20°C for various reaction periods (3, 8, 28, 48 and 96 h). The results demonstrate that the higher molecular weight NOM is strongly correlated with UV254 and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA), while the lower molecular weight NOM is weakly correlated with UV254 and SUVA. Increase in bromide ion concentration increases total THM formation. Fractions of brominated THMs decrease with increasing NOM molecular size. Lower molecular weight NOM forms more brominated THMs than the corresponding higher molecular weight NOM. Increase of bromide to chlorine ratio decreases chloroform and increases brominated THMs. Increase in pH increases chloroform and decreases brominated THMs. This study demonstrates that the distribution of NOM and bromide ion can have important role on the distribution of THMs in drinking water.

Keywords : bromide ion; molecular weight distribution; natural organic matter; trihalomethane distribution.

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