Contribution of N-Nitrosamines and Their Precursors to Domestic Sewage by Greywaters and Blackwaters

Teng Zeng, William A. Mitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

N-nitrosamines and their precursors are significant concerns for water utilities exploiting wastewater-impacted water supplies, particularly those practicing potable reuse of wastewater. Previous efforts to identify specific precursors in municipal wastewater accounting for N-nitrosamine formation have met with limited success. As an alternative, we quantified the relative importance of greywater (i.e., shower, kitchen sink, bathroom washbasin, and laundry) and blackwater (i.e., urine and feces) streams in terms of their loadings of ambient specific and total N-nitrosamines and chloramine-reactive and ozone-reactive N-nitrosamine precursors to domestic sewage. Accounting for the volume fractions of individual greywater and blackwater streams, laundry water represented the most significant source of N-nitrosamines and their precursors, followed by shower water and urine. Laundry water was particularly important for ozone-reactive N-nitrosamine precursors, accounting for ∼99% of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) precursors and ∼69% of precursors for other uncharacterized N-nitrosamines. For the other greywater streams, consumer products contributed additional N-nitrosamines and precursors, but the remarkable uniformity across different products suggested the importance of common macroconstituents. The consumption of a standard dose of the antacid ranitidine substantially increased NDMA and its chloramine-reactive precursors in urine. Nevertheless, nearly 40% of the American population would need to consume ranitidine daily to match the NDMA loadings from laundry water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13158-13167
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume49
Issue number22
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 23 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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