Impacts of drinking water pretreatments on the formation of nitrogenous disinfection by-products

Wenhai Chu, Naiyun Gao, Yang Deng, Michael R. Templeton, Daqiang Yin

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The formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs), including both nitrogenous DBPs (N-DBPs) and carbonaceous DBPs (C-DBPs), was investigated by analyzing chlorinated water samples following the application of three pretreatment processes: (i) powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption; (ii) KMnO 4 oxidation and (iii) biological contact oxidation (BCO), coupled with conventional water treatment processes. PAC adsorption can remove effectively the precursors of chloroform (42.7%), dichloroacetonitrile (28.6%), dichloroacetamide (DCAcAm) (27.2%) and trichloronitromethane (35.7%), which were higher than that pretreated by KMnO 4 oxidation and/or BCO process. The removal efficiency of dissolved organic carbon by BCO process (76.5%) -was superior to that by PAC adsorption (69.9%) and KMnO 4 oxidation (61.4%). However, BCO increased the dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) concentration which caused more N-DBPs to be formed during subsequent chlorination. Soluble microbial products including numerous DON compounds were produced in the BCO process and were observed to play an essential role in the formation of DCAcAm in particular.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11161-11166
Number of pages6
JournalBioresource Technology
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Biological contact oxidation (BCO)
  • Haloacetamides (HAcAms)
  • Nitrogenous disinfection by-products (N-DBPs)
  • Powdered activated carbon (PAC)
  • Soluble microbial product (SMP)


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