Relationships between trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, and haloacetonitriles formed by the chlorination of raw, treated, and fractionated surface waters

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This study examined effects of coagulation and fractionation of natural organic matter on the distribution of trihalomethanes (THM), haloacetic acids (HAA), and haloacetonitriles (HAN) formed in chlorinated water. The precursors of HAA and THM were determined to be associated primarily with the hydrophobic fraction although the hydrophilic fraction is important as well. On the other hand, the precursors of HAN are overwhelmingly hydrophilic with only a negligible contribution of the hydrophobic and transphilic fractions. Higher percentages of HAN were found in the treated waters compared with raw waters, collected from three different full scale water treatment plants. Very strong correlations were found between THM, HAA, and HAN concentrations. Two main correlations between THM and HAN were observed. One was applicable to all raw waters regardless of their fractionation and provenance, while the other was formed by the treated waters, again regardless of their source and fractionation. This result emphasizes that a significant removal of THM and HAA precursors can be achieved via coagulation but it results in a negligible removal of HAN precursors. As a consequence, some changes in treatment trains or operating conditions may need to be considered to minimize the formation of HAN.

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