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J Hazard Mater. 2011 Jun 15;190(1-3):897-902. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2011.04.010. Epub 2011 Apr 8.

Occurrence and removal of NDMA and NDMA formation potential in wastewater treatment plants.

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Research Center for Environmental Quality Management, Kyoto University, 1-2 Yumihama, Otsu, Shiga 520-0811, Japan.


N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a potent carcinogen that is formed during disinfection by chlorination or ozonation in wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). At present, little is known about the occurrence and fate of NDMA and its formation potential (FP) during wastewater treatment. We investigated the fate of NDMA and NDMA FP in 12 WWTPs. NDMA occurred in the influents at a concentration ranging from below the limit of quantification (LOQ <10 ng/L) to 80 ng/L, and in the final discharges from below the LOQ to 73 ng/L. In three WWTPs located in industrial areas, the influent had a high NDMA FP (up to 8230 ng/L). The rate of NDMA FP reduction from influent to secondary effluent varied between 85 and 98%, regardless of treatment process. The rate of NDMA removal is due more to the influent properties than to the type of biological treatment process.

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