Predicting reactivity of model DOM compounds towards chlorine with mediated electrochemical oxidation.Water Res. 2017 05 01; 114:113-121.WR
Chlorine demand of a water sample depends on the characteristics of dissolved organic matter (DOM). It is an important parameter for water utilities used to assess oxidant and/or disinfectant consumption of source waters during treatment and distribution. In this study, model compounds namely resorcinol, tannic acid, vanillin, cysteine, tyrosine, and tryptophan were used to represent the reactive moieties of complex DOM mixtures. The reactivity of these compounds was evaluated in terms of Cl2 demand and electron donating capacity (EDC). The EDC was determined by mediated electrochemical oxidation (MEO) which involves the use of 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) as an electron shuttle. The Cl2 demand of readily oxidizable compounds (resorcinol, tannic acid, vanillin, and cysteine) was found to correlate well with EDC (R2 = 0.98). The EDC values (mol e-/mol C) of the model compounds are as follows: 1.18 (cysteine) > 0.77 (resorcinol) > 0.59 (vanillin) > 0.52 (tannic acid) > 0.36 (tryptophan) > 0.19 (tyrosine). To determine the effect of pre-oxidation on EDC, ozone was added (0.1 mol O3/mol C) into each model compound solution. Ozonation caused a general decrease in EDC (10-40%), chlorine demand (10-30%), and UV absorbance (10-40%), except for tyrosine which showed both increased UV275 and EDC. Before and after ozonation, 24 h disinfection byproduct (DBP) formation potential tests (Cl2 residual = 1.5 mg/L) were conducted to evaluate the use of EDC for DBP formation prediction. The results indicate that there was no significant correlation between the EDC of the model compounds and the formation potentials of adsorbable organic chlorine, trichloromethane, and trichloroacetic acid. This suggests that while EDC correlates with Cl2 demand, chlorine consumption may not directly translate to DBP formation because oxidation reactions may dominate over substitution reactions. Overall, this study provides useful insights on the reactions of ABTS+ and HOCl with model DOM compounds, and highlights the potential application of MEO for rapid determination of Cl2 demand of a water sample.