Disinfection by-products in drinking water – a case study on Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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Disinfection by-products (DBPs) have been monitored in Calgary's drinking water for approximately 15 years. The variability of the DBPs has typically exhibited similar patterns over the period of monitoring. Due to the nature of the surface waters supplying the water treatment plants, the level of DBPs was largely influenced by surface runoff events where the level of natural organic matter (NOM) increased, which was characterized by a relatively high total organic carbon (TOC) content. Principal component analysis (PCA) was utilized for this study to quickly identify the key underlying correlations present within the very large, complex multivariate data matrix. Apart from TOC, chlorine demand, chlorine residual and temperature were observed to correlate with the formation of DBPs in the finished drinking water. In addition to TOC, PCA also indicates that pH and temperature in the distribution system could have an influence on the variability of DBPs in Calgary's drinking water. It was apparent that upgrades to the water treatment systems in Calgary have resulted in an improved removal of DBP precursors such as NOM prior to chlorination, which is a key factor in reducing the DBP levels in the drinking water, thereby providing an enhanced level of public health protection.

Keywords: Calgary, disinfection by-products, distribution system, drinking water, principle component analysis, water treatment

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