DBP formation kinetics in a simulated distribution system

Water Res. 2001 Oct;35(14):3483-9. doi: 10.1016/s0043-1354(01)00059-8.


Little is known about how the growth of halogenated disinfection by-products (DBPs) in drinking water is affected by time spent in a distribution system. Experiments were performed to compare the rate of trihalomethane and haloacetic acid production in a simulated pipe environment to that observed for the same water held in glass bottles. Results showed that although the rate of chlorine consumption in the pipe was much greater than in the bottle, there was no decrease in the amount of haloacetic acids produced and that trihalomethane levels actually increased by an average of 15%. Separate tests confirmed that this increase was due to a reservoir of organic precursor material associated with deposits on the pipe wall. This work suggests that the rate of DBP production in a distribution system will not necessarily be reduced by increased chlorine consumption due to non-DBP producing reactions with deposits on the pipe wall.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bromides / chemistry
  • Chlorine / chemistry
  • Disinfection*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Iron / chemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Sanitary Engineering / instrumentation
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Purification / standards*
  • Water Supply / analysis*
  • Water Supply / standards


  • Bromides
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chlorine
  • Iron