Molecular transformation of dissolved organic matter and the formation of disinfection byproducts in full-scale surface water treatment processes.Sci Total Environ. 2022 Sep 10; 838(Pt 4):156547.ST
Dissolved organic matters (DOM) have important effects on the performance of surface water treatment processes and may convert into disinfection by-products (DBPs) during disinfection. In this work, the transformation of DOM and the chlorinated DBPs (Cl-DBPs) formation in two different full-scale surface water treatment processes (process 1: prechlorination-coagulation-precipitation-filtration; process 2: coagulation-precipitation-post-disinfection-filtration) were comparatively investigated at molecular scale. The results showed that coagulation preferentially removed unsaturated (H/C < 1.0 and DBE > 17) and oxidized (O/C > 0.5) compounds containing more carboxyl groups. Therefore, prechlorination produced more Cl-DBPs with H/C < 1.0 and O/C > 0.5 than post-disinfection. However, the algal in the influent produced many reduced molecules (O/C < 0.5) without prechlorination, and these compounds were more reactive with disinfectants. Sand filtration was ineffective in DOM removal, while microorganisms in the filter produced high molecular weight (MW) substances that were involved in the Cl-DBPs formation, causing the generation of higher MW Cl-DBPs under post-disinfection. Furthermore, the CHO molecules with high O atom number and the CHON molecules containing one N atom were the main Cl-DBPs precursors in both surface water treatment processes. In consideration of the putative Cl-DBPs precursors and their reaction pathways, the precursors with higher unsaturation degree and aromaticity were prone to produce Cl-DBPs through addition reactions, while that with higher saturation degree tended to form Cl-DBPs through substitution reactions. These findings are useful to optimize the treatment processes to ensure the safety of water quality.