Fate of effluent organic matter during soil aquifer treatment: biodegradability, chlorine reactivity and genotoxicity

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Hydrophobic acid (HPO-A) and transphilic acid (TPI-A) fractions of dissolved organic matter (DOM) were isolated from a domestic secondary wastewater effluent that was polished via soil aquifer treatment (SAT). Fractions were isolated using XAD resin adsorption chromatography from samples obtained along the vadose zone flowpath at a full-scale basin recharge facility in Tucson, Arizona. Changes in isolate character during SAT were established via biodegradability (batch test), specific ultraviolet light absorbance (SUVA), trihalomethane formation potential (THMFP), and Ames mutagenicity assays. The dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration decreased by >90% during SAT. A significant fraction (up to 20%) of isolated post-SAT HPO-A was biodegradable. The (apparent) refractory nature of DOM that survives SAT may be a consequence of low DOC concentration in groundwater as well as the nature of the compounds themselves.

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