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J Environ Sci (China). 2011;23(1):1-13.

Treatment of taste and odor causing compounds 2-methyl isoborneol and geosmin in drinking water: a critical review.

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Environmental Engineering Program, School of Energy, Environmental, Biological, and Medical Engineering, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH 45221-0012, USA.


Problems due to the taste and odor in drinking water are common in treatment facilities around the world. Taste and odor are perceived by the public as the primary indicators of the safely and acceptability of drinking water and are mainly caused by the presence of two semi-volatile compounds--2-methyl isoborneol (MIB) and geosmin. A review of these two taste and odor causing compounds in drinking water is presented. The sources for the formation of these compounds in water are discussed along with the health and regulatory implications. The recent developments in the analysis of MIB/geosmin in water which have allowed for rapid measurements in the nanogram per liter concentrations are also discussed. This review focuses on the relevant treatment alternatives, that are described in detail with emphasis on their respective advantages and problems associated with their implementation in a full-scale facility. Conventional treatment processes in water treatment plants, such as coagulation, sedimentation and chlorination have been found to be ineffective for removal of MIB/geosmin. Studies have shown powdered activated carbon, ozonation and biofiltration to be effective in treatment of these two compounds. Although some of these technologies are more effective and show more promise than the others, much work remains to be done to optimize these technologies so that they can be retrofitted or installed with minimal impact on the overall operation and effectiveness of the treatment system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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