A Simple Method to Reduce Disinfection By-product Formation

The formation of disinfection byproducts (DBP) during drinking water production has long been of concern to
authorities and consumers alike. Although most disinfectants form unwanted DBPs there is particular concern with
chlorine disinfection as a variety of chlorinated compounds are formed with possible adverse health effects, including
trihalomethanes (THMs). Strategies for controlling THM formation include the use of alternative disinfectants and
removal of DBPs after formation but the most effective solution is to prevent DBP formation by removing the organic
precursors of the DBPs prior to disinfection.

A new process for removing the DBP precursors has been developed using an ion exchange resin. It has been tested
on a variety of Australian waters and in all cases succeeded in achieving the desired reduction in THM formation
potential. Removal of the precursors led to additional benefits including reduced chlorine demand.

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