Brominated DBP Formation and Speciation Based on the Specific UV Absorbance Distribution of Natural Waters

EPA Grant Number: R828045
Title: Brominated DBP Formation and Speciation Based on the Specific UV Absorbance Distribution of Natural Waters
Investigators: Kilduff, James E. , Karanfil, Tanju
Institution: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute , Clemson University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: March 1, 2000 through March 1, 2003
Project Amount: $391,473
RFA: Drinking Water (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water


Understanding the characteristics of natural waters that influence disinfection by-product formation and treat ability is critical for providing safe water and for meeting current drinking water regulations (e.g., the D/DBP rule). Of primary importance is understanding natural organic matter (NOM) reactivity. While sophisticated fractionation and characterization of organic mater in natural waters yields important information, one bulk water parameter, the specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA), has proven to be a reliable and robust predictor of both reactivity with oxidants and treat ability (e.g., removal by coagulation and carbon adsorption). Recently, SUVA254 was specified in the drinking water regulations in the Stage I of D/DBP rule. Current application of the SUVA measurement yields a single value that represents the response of a distribution of chromophores within a single NOM molecule and among different NOM molecules. Similarly, reactivity of bulk water represents the combined reactivity of many different molecules and molecular moities. Research is needed to better define the distribution of SUVA in natural waters, and how this distribution correlates with reactivity toward disinfectants such as chlorine. Such information will be useful for optimizing treatment goals, understanding the effects of treatment processes, and devising strategies to comply with the D/DBP rule.


The goals of this research are to develop a method to characterize the distribution of SUVA in natural waters using an adsorptive approach employing activated carbon. The distribution in SUVA will be correlated with the distribution of reactivity with disinfectants (primarily chlorine). The distribution obtained using carbon adsorption will be verified and compared with other methods of fractionating NOM, including resin adsorption, enhanced coagulation, and ultrafiltration. The SUVA distribution will be defined for both treated and untreated waters to elucidate how process improvement will affect reactivity. The extent to which the SUVA distribution changes seasonally will be evaluated.

Expected Results:

Understanding how SUVA is distributed in natural waters, and how reactivity is correlated to the distribution of SUVA, will allow utilities to optimize the degree of treatment required to comply with D/DBP regulations. The exact range of components that require removal, and the degree of treatment necessary to accomplish such removal, will be directly obtained from the SUVA/reactivity distribution. Because the distribution is defined using an adsorption-based fractionation technique that employs mechanisms similar to all other technologies identified as appropriate for DBP precursor control - i.e., the preferential removal of high SUVA components - the results will be applicable to a range of control strategies. The proposed methodology will benefit the entire drinking water community, including water utilities, academicians and regulatory agencies responsible for compliance with the Stage 1 of D/DBP Rule.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 18 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 8 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

environmental chemistry, analytical chemistry., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Water, Environmental Chemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Drinking Water, coagulation, public water systems, Safe Drinking Water, natural waters, monitoring, disinfection byproducts (DPBs), drinking water regulations, community water system, natural organic matter, carbon adsorption, chromophores, speciation, treatment, water quality, dietary ingestion exposures, drinking water contaminants, drinking water treatment, ultrafiltration, UV absorbance, drinking water system

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report