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Water Res. 2005 Nov;39(19):4779-89. Epub 2005 Oct 25.

Characterization of natural organic matter in conventional water treatment processes for selection of treatment processes focused on DBPs control.

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Water Environment and Remediation Center, Korea Institute of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 131, Cheongryang, Seoul 130-650, Republic of Korea.


Natural organic matter (NOM) from raw and process waters at a conventional water treatment plant was isolated into hydrophobic and hydrophilic fractions by physicochemical fractionation methods to investigate its characteristics. Formation potential of trihalomethanes (THMs) was highly influenced by the hydrophobic fraction, whereas haloacetic acids formation potential (HAAFP) depended more on the hydrophilic fraction. However the hydrophobic fraction was removed more than the hydrophilic fraction through conventional water treatment. Therefore residual hydrophilic NOM after conventional treatment needs to be removed to reduce HAAFP. Feasible additional processes are required to be evaluated by comparing preferential removal efficiency of hydrophilic NOM through pilot tests. The structural and chemical characteristics of hydrophobic NOM (i.e., humic substances (HS)) were further investigated to know how they are influenced by conventional treatment. The phenolic fraction in the hydrophobic NOM was mainly removed compared to the carboxylic fraction through water treatment, and a higher formation potential of THMs resulted from NOM with a higher phenolic content. The Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H-NMR) employed for characterization of NOM through water treatment were insightful revealing that their results were quite close to each other. Decreases of ratio of UV absorbance at 253 and 203 nm, respectively (A(253)/A(203) ratio) and trihalomethane formation potential/dissolved organic carbon (THMFP/DOC) showed consistent trends; therefore, the A(253)/A(203) ratio may be a good indicator of tendency for the formation potential of disinfection by-products (DBPs).

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