Seasonal evaluation of the presence of 46 disinfection by-products throughout a drinking water treatment plant

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Jun 1;517:246-58. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.070. Epub 2015 Mar 11.


In this work, we studied a total of 46 regulated and non-regulated disinfection by-products (DBPs) including 10 trihalomethanes (THMs), 13 haloacetic acids (HAAs), 6 halonitromethanes (HNMs), 6 haloacetonitriles (HANs) and 11 aldehydes at different points in a drinking water treatment plant (DWTP) and its distribution network. Determining an increased number of compounds and using accurate, sensitive analytical methodologies for new DBPs can be useful to overcome some challenges encountered in the comprehensive assessment of the quality and safety of drinking water. This paper provides a detailed picture of the spatial and seasonal variability of DBP concentrations from raw water to distribution network. Samples were collected on a monthly basis at seven different points in the four seasons of a year to acquire robust data for DBPs and supplementary quality-related water parameters. Only 5 aldehydes and 2 HAAs were found in raw water. Chlorine dioxide caused the formation of 3 new aldehydes (benzaldehyde included), 5 HAAs and chloroform. The concentrations of DBPs present in raw water were up to 6 times higher in the warmer seasons (spring and summer). The sedimentation process further increased their concentrations and caused the formation of three new ones. Sand filtration substantially removed aldehydes and HAAs (15-50%), but increased the levels of THMs, HNMs and HANs by up to 70%. Chloramination raised the levels of 8 aldehydes and 7 HAAs; also, it caused the formation of monoiodoacetic acid, dibromochloromethane, dichloroiodomethane and bromochloroacetonitrile. Therefore, this treatment increases the levels of existing DBPs and leads to the formation of new ones to a greater extent than does chlorine dioxide. Except for 5 aldehydes, the 23 DBPs encountered at the DWTP exit were found at increased concentrations in the warmer seasons (HAAs by about 50% and THMs by 350%).

Keywords: Aldehydes; Chlorine dioxide/chloramination; Drinking water treatment plant; Haloacetic acids; Haloacetonitriles; Halonitromethanes; Trihalomethanes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disinfectants / analysis*
  • Drinking Water / chemistry*
  • Seasons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Pollution, Chemical / statistics & numerical data
  • Water Purification / methods*


  • Disinfectants
  • Drinking Water
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical