Design of Stripping Columns Applied to Drinking Water to Minimize Carcinogenic Risk from Trihalomethanes (THMs)

Toxics. 2018 Mar 19;6(1):18. doi: 10.3390/toxics6010018.


The aim of this study is the application of a software tool to the design of stripping columns to calculate the removal of trihalomethanes (THMs) from drinking water. The tool also allows calculating the rough capital cost of the column and the decrease in carcinogenic risk indeces associated with the elimination of THMs and, thus, the investment to save a human life. The design of stripping columns includes the determination, among other factors, of the height (HOG), the theoretical number of plates (NOG), and the section (S) of the columns based on the study of pressure drop. These results have been compared with THM stripping literature values, showing that simulation is sufficiently conservative. Three case studies were chosen to apply the developed software. The first case study was representative of small-scale application to a community in Córdoba (Spain) where chloroform is predominant and has a low concentration. The second case study was of an intermediate scale in a region in Venezuela, and the third case study was representative of large-scale treatment of water in the Barcelona metropolitan region (Spain). Results showed that case studies with larger scale and higher initial risk offer the best capital investment to decrease the risk.

Keywords: disinfection by-products; drinking water; human health risk assessment; stripping columns; trihalomethanes (THMs); water technology design.