Nitrosamines have been emerging as disinfection byproducts in drinking water using source water impacted with domestic wastewaters. Nitrogenous organic compounds are suggested as precursors of nitrosamines, but many of them have not been identified. This study investigated the correlations between nine selected nitrogenous organic compounds with different characteristics and corresponding disinfection by-product formation potentials (nitrosamines, trihalomethanes (THMs), and haloacetic acids (HAAs)) from their reactions with free chlorine, chlorine dioxide and monochloramine. Besides dimethylamine, the well-known precursor of nitrosamines, 3-(N,N-dimethyloctylammonio)propanesulfonate (3-N,N-DAPSIS) inner salt and benzyldimethyltetradecylamine (benzalkonium chloride, BKC) were suggested as important nitrosamine precursors. 3-N,N-DAPSIS could form about 1,000 ng/L of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and more than 1,000 μg/L of THMs. More than 150,000 ng/L of NDMA were observed when BKC was treated with monochloramine, and high levels of THMs (up to 2,700 μg/L) were also yielded. As expected, free chlorine produced higher levels of THMs and HAAs, and chlorine dioxide generated minor levels of traditional DBPs. Nitrosamines were mainly formed when the precursors were treated with monochloramine.
Keywords: disinfection by-products, haloacetic acids, nitrogenous organic precursors, nitrosamines, trihalomethanes