Relative importance of different water categories as sources of N‑nitrosamine precursors

Teng Zeng, Caitlin M. Glover, Erica J. Marti, Gwen C. Woods-Chabane, Tanju Karanfil, William A. Mitch, Eric R.V. Dickenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


A comparison of loadings of N-nitrosamines and their precursors from different source water categories is needed to design effective source water blending strategies. Previous research using Formation Potential (FP) chloramination protocols (high dose and prolonged contact times) raised concerns about precursor loadings from various source water categories, but differences in the protocols employed rendered comparisons difficult. In this study, we applied Uniform Formation Condition (UFC) chloramination and ozonation protocols mimicking typical disinfection practice to compare loadings of ambient specific and total N-nitrosamines as well as chloramine-reactive and ozone-reactive precursors in 47 samples, including 6 pristine headwaters, 16 eutrophic waters, 4 agricultural runoff samples, 9 stormwater runoff samples, and 12 municipal wastewater effluents. N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) formation from UFC and FP chloramination protocols did not correlate, with NDMA FP often being significant in samples where no NDMA formed under UFC conditions. N-Nitrosamines and their precursors were negligible in pristine headwaters. Conventional, and to a lesser degree, nutrient removal wastewater effluents were the dominant source of NDMA and its chloramine- and ozone-reactive precursors. While wastewater effluents were dominant sources of TONO and their precursors, algal blooms, and to a lesser degree agricultural or stormwater runoff, could be important where they affect a major fraction of the water supply.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13239-13248
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 20 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry


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