Variations of disinfection byproduct precursors through conventional drinking water treatment processes and a real-time monitoring method

Xiaoxiao Zhang, Jimin Shen, Xiaoyu Huo, Jianwei Li, Yaoyu Zhou, Jing Kang, Zhonglin Chen, Wei Chu, Shengxin Zhao, Lanbo Bi, Xiaotong Xu, Binyuan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this investigation, raw water (RW), settled water (SW), and filtered water (FW) collected from a drinking water treatment plant were fractionated into 24 natural organic matter (NOM) fractions with varying molecular weights and hydrophobicity. The yields of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) obtained during the chlorination of the NOM fractions were explored. Results revealed that the 0–1 kDa, 5–10 kDa, and hydrophobic DBP precursors dominated RW. Hydrophobic fractions cannot be effectively removed, which contributed to the high DBP precursors remaining in the FW. The optional optical parameters, including UVA (UV340, UV360, and UV380), UVB (UV280, UV300, and UV310), and UVC (UV254, UV260, and UV272), were analyzed to determine the DBP yields during chlorination of different NOM fractions. Results revealed that UVC could be applied to indicate the regulated DBP yields of the humified precursors. Contrary to the generally accepted view, for biologically derived precursors, their regulated DBPs and dichloroacetonitrile correlated better with UVA (e.g. UV340). Moreover, PARAFAC analysis was applied to decompose an array of 24 EEM spectra. Good linear correlations were found between the PARAFAC components and most DBP yields. Furthermore, four fluorescence parameters were proposed via a modified fluorescence picking method, which can serve as excellent surrogates of PARAFAC components. These fluorescence parameters were found to be effective in indicating most DBP yields. Finally, the fluorescence intensity at excitation wavelength/emission wavelength = 310/416 nm was found to be a promising built-in parameter for the real-time monitoring of DBP precursors, regardless of the humification degree of the precursors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129930
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Fluorescence intensity
  • Humification
  • Hydrophilic distribution
  • Natural organic matter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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