Impact of Nitrification on the Formation of N-Nitrosamines and Halogenated Disinfection Byproducts within Distribution System Storage Facilities

Teng Zeng, William A. Mitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Distribution system storage facilities are a critical, yet often overlooked, component of the urban water infrastructure. This study showed elevated concentrations of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), total N-nitrosamines (TONO), regulated trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), 1,1-dichloropropanone (1,1-DCP), trichloroacetaldehyde (TCAL), haloacetonitriles (HANs), and haloacetamides (HAMs) in waters with ongoing nitrification as compared to non-nitrifying waters in storage facilities within five different chloraminated drinking water distribution systems. The concentrations of NDMA, TONO, HANs, and HAMs in the nitrifying waters further increased upon application of simulated distribution system chloramination. The addition of a nitrifying biofilm sample collected from a nitrifying facility to its non-nitrifying influent water led to increases in N-nitrosamine and halogenated DBP formation, suggesting the release of precursors from nitrifying biofilms. Periodic treatment of two nitrifying facilities with breakpoint chlorination (BPC) temporarily suppressed nitrification and reduced precursor levels for N-nitrosamines, HANs, and HAMs, as reflected by lower concentrations of these DBPs measured after re-establishment of a chloramine residual within the facilities than prior to the BPC treatment. However, BPC promoted the formation of halogenated DBPs while a free chlorine residual was maintained. Strategies that minimize application of free chlorine while preventing nitrification are needed to control DBP precursor release in storage facilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2964-2973
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Volume50
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 15 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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