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Water Res. 2002 Feb;36(4):817-24.

Formation of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) from reaction of monochloramine: a new disinfection by-product.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242-1527, USA.


Studies have been conducted specifically to investigate the hypothesis that N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) can be produced by reactions involving monochloramine. Experiments were conducted using dimethylamine (DMA) as a model precursor. NDMA was formed from the reaction between DMA and monochloramine indicating that it should be considered a potential disinfection by-product. The formation of NDMA increased with increased monochloramine concentration and showed maximum in yield when DMA was varied at fixed monochloramine concentrations. The mass spectra of the NDMA formed from DMA and 15N isotope labeled monochloramine (15NH2Cl) showed that the source of one of the nitrogen atoms in the nitroso group in NDMA was from monochloramine. Addition of 0.05 and 0.5 mM of preformed monochloramine to a secondarily treated wastewater at pH 7.2 also resulted in the formation of 3.6 and 111 ng/L of NDMA, respectively, showing that this is indeed an environmentally relevant NDMA formation pathway. The proposed NDMA formation mechanism consists of (i) the formation of 1,1-dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) intermediate from the reaction of DMA with monochloramine followed by, (ii) the oxidation of UDMH by monochloramine to NDMA, and (iii) the reversible chlorine transfer reaction between monochloramine and DMA which is parallel to (i). We conclude that reactions involving monochloramine in addition to classical nitrosation reactions are potentially important pathways for NDMA formation.

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