“A clean drinking water supply has become a national priority for China,” according to the Chinese State Press and Premier Wen Jiabao. Municipalities throughout China are challenged to balance the risk of microbial pathogens and by-products from the disinfectant used to destroy these microbes. The byproducts, called Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs), form from the interaction of the naturally occurring organic matter (NOM) in a treatment plant’s source water and its disinfection process. NOM is typically measured as total organic carbon (TOC). DBPs, such as trihalomethanes (THMs), continue to form as water passes through a plant’s distribution system and contact time increases.
China Standards for Drinking Water Quality, updated in 2007, include a limit for the group of trihalomethanes (THMs), individual limits for specific THMs, and limits for specific haloacetic acids (HAAs), another group of DBPs. The standards help reduce the health risks associated with DBPs, but also make understanding a plant’s TOC values and the correlation to DBP levels critical.
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