Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are regulated in drinking water in a number of countries. This critical review focuses on the issues associated with DBP regulatory compliance, including methods for DBP analysis, occurrence levels, the regulation comparison among various countries, DBP compliance strategies, and emerging DBPs. The regulation comparison between China and the United States (US) indicated that the DBP regulations in China are more stringent based on the number of regulated compounds and maximum levels. The comparison assessment using the Information Collection Rule (ICR) database indicated that the compliance rate of 500 large US water plants under the China regulations is much lower than that under the US regulations (e.g. 62.2% versus 89.6% for total trihalomethanes). Precursor removal and alternative disinfectants are common practices for DBP regulatory compliance. DBP removal after formation, including air stripping for trihalomethane removal and biodegradation for haloacetic acid removal, have gained more acceptance in DBP control. Formation of emerging DBPs, including iodinated DBPs and nitrogenous DBPs, is one of unintended consequences of precursor removal and alternative disinfection. At much lower levels than carbonaceous DBPs, however, emerging DBPs have posed higher health risks.
Bisphenol A (BPA), an endocrine disrupting compound, has caused wide public concerns due to its wide occurrence in environment and harmful effects. BPA has been detected in many surface waters and drinking water with the maximum concentrations up to tens of μg·L-1. The physicochemical technology options in eliminating BPA can be divided into four categories: oxidation, advanced oxidation, adsorption and membrane filtration. Each removal option has its own limitation and merits in removing BPA. Oxidation and advanced oxidation generally can remove BPA efficiently while they also have some drawbacks, such as high cost, the generation of a variety of transformation products that are even more toxic than the parent compound and difficult to be mineralized. Only few advanced oxidation methods have been reported to be able to mineralize BPA completely. Therefore, it is important not only to identify the major initial transformation products but also to assess their estrogenic activity relative to the parent compounds when oxidation methods are employed to remove BPA. Without formation of harmful by-products, physical separation methods such as activated carbon adsorption and membrane processes are able to remove BPA in water effluents and thus have potential as BPA removal technologies. However, the necessary regeneration of activated carbon and the low BPA removal efficiency when the membrane became saturated may limit the application of activated carbon adsorption and membrane processes for BPA removal. Hybrid processes, e.g. combining adsorption and biologic process or combining membrane and oxidation process, which can achieve simultaneous physical separation and degradation of BPA, will be highly preferred in future.
Microorganisms are ubiquitous in natural environments and in water supply infrastructure including groundwater wells. Sessile-state microorganisms may build up on well surfaces as biofilms and, if excessive, cause biofouling that reduces well productivity and water quality. Conditions can be improved using biocides and other traditional well rehabilitation measures; however, biofilm regrowth is inevitable given the continuous introduction of microorganisms from the surrounding environment. Alternative and less invasive well maintenance approaches are desirable for reducing biofilm densities while also minimizing harmful disinfection-by-products. The primary objective of this research was to evaluate effectiveness of alternative treatments for inactivating microorganisms comprising biofilms. A novel approach was designed for in situ growth of biofilms on steel coupons suspended from ‘chandeliers’. After more than 100 days of in situ growth, biofilms were harvested, sampled, and baseline biofilm densities quantified through cultivation. Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) and oxidative treatments including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), ozone (O3) and mixed oxidants were then applied to the biofilms in laboratory-scale treatments. Microbial inactivation was assessed by comparing treated versus baseline biofilm densities. H2O2 was the most effective treatment, and decreased density below baseline by as much as 3.1 orders of magnitude. Mixed oxidants were effective for the well having a lower density biofilm, decreasing density below baseline by as much as 1.4 orders of magnitude. Disparity in the response to treatment was apparent in the wells despite their spatial proximity and common aquifer source, which suggests that microbiological communities are more heterogeneous than the natural media from which they originate.
Arsenic (As) spills occurred more frequently and sometimes polluted water sources in recent years in China. It is as urgent need to develop emergency treatment technologies to address the arsenic threat for large-scale water treatment plants. In response, we developed a chemical sedimentation technology to remove arsenic contaminants for water treatment plants. Bench-scale experiments were conducted to investigate the efficiency of arsenic removal and the influencing factors of the chemical sedimentation treatment process. The influencing factors included the choice and dosage of coagulants, the valence of arsenic and pH value of solution. The As(V) contaminants can be almost completely removed by ferric or alum coagulants. The As(III) contaminants are more recalcitrant to chemical sedimentation, 75% for ferric coagulant and 40% for alum coagulant. The quantitative results of arsenic removal load by different ferric or alum coagulants were presented to help determine the parameters for arsenic treatment technology. The dominant mechanism for arsenic removal is static combination, or adsorption of negative arsenic species onto positive ferric hydroxide or alum hydroxide flocs. The efficiency of this treatment technology has also been demonstrated by a real production test in one water treatment plant with arsenic-rich source water and one emergency response. This technology was verified to be quick to set-up, easy to operate and highly efficient even for high concentration of arsenic.
Ecological compensation is a powerful environmental economic tool for environmental protection in areas where drinking water sources are located. We established an ecological compensation accounting system based on respondents’ willingness to accept (WTA). In this system, stakeholder preferences and the factors that influence them can be gauged effectively using logit and tobit models. We applied this accounting system to ecological compensation for the Miyun Reservoir, Beijing, China. The average WTA value for Miyun Reservoir residents was approximately 1186 CNY per family in 2012, which could be set as a suitable compensation standard, since it is slightly higher than the local protection cost. Thus, the annual total ecological compensation could be 58.73 million CNY. Distance from the reservoir, job types, and attitude to environmental protection were variables with significant effects on WTA. In addition, trends for individual preferences were identified via an analysis of key influential factors. The results suggest some useful information for establishing ecological compensation mechanisms for conservation of drinking water sources. Suggestions include popularizing the concept and meaning of ecological compensation among residents, setting different compensation levels based on distance from the reservoir, considering the requirements of farmers, and taking various in-kind and out-of-kind compensation approaches.
The continuous variations of dissolved oxygen (DO), manganese (Mn), pH, and their effect on manganese removal by different water treatment processes are investigated. The results show that the declined DO concentration and pH value in the bottom of reservoir results in the increasing release of Mn from sediment to source water. Manganese concentration increased from 0.1 to 0.4 mg·L-1 under the condition that DO concentration decreased from 12.0 to 2.0 mg·L-1 in raw water. The different water treatment processes exhibited different efficiency on manganese removal. The processes with recycling of the suspended sludge, low elevation velocity in settling tank and slow filter rate, will benefit the manganese removal. During a high release of manganese in raw water, traditional coagulation-sedimentation and filtration could not completely remove Mn, although granular activated carbon filtration (GAC) had been applied. At that case, preoxidation with chlorine or potassium permanganate (KMnO4) was necessary to address the high manganese concentration.
We investigated the fouling performances of ultrafiltration (UF) membrane for treating in-line coagulated water in an enhanced coagulation-UF hybrid process. Then we analyzed the fouling mechanisms in the early stage of UF using mathematical models and microscopy observation methods. Finally, we discussed the impact of aeration on membrane fouling in this paper. The results showed that a two-stage of trans-membrane pressure (TMP) profile during the operation of enhanced coagulation-UF membrane was observed, and the relationship between permeability and operation time fitted well with a logarithmic curve. Membrane pores blocking and cake filtration were confirmed as main membrane fouling mechanisms using the mathematical models. The two stages of membrane fouling mechanisms were further deduced, namely, the membrane pore narrowing followed by the formation of cake layer. Membrane autopsy analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images of the membrane surface sampled from different filtration cycles also confirmed the mechanisms of pores blocking and cake filtration. Moreover, according to the variations of the permeability and membrane fouling resistance, aeration was able to mitigate and control the membrane fouling to a certain extent, but the optimization of aeration conditions still needs to be studied.
Surface water and groundwater always behave in a coupled manner and are major components of hydrologic cycle. However, surface water simulation models and groundwater simulation models are run separately most of the time. Few models focus on the impact of hydraulic changes in the surface water flows on the groundwater, or specifically, the impact of a water transfer project to fill a seasonally dry channel. In this study, a linked surface water and groundwater simulation model was developed to assess the impact of a trans-basin water diversion project on the groundwater. A typical plain area east of Beijing was selected as a case study, representing Beijing’s main source of groundwater used for drinking water. A surface water quality model of the Chaobai River was developed based on the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP), and a groundwater model was developed based on the Modular Finite-Difference Groundwater Flow Model (MODFLOW) and the Modular 3-D transport model (MT3D). The results of the surface water simulation were used as input for the groundwater simulation. Water levels and four contaminants (NH3-N, CODMn, F, As) were simulated. With the same initial and boundary conditions, scenario analyses were performed to quantify the impact of different quantities of diversion water on the groundwater environment. The results showed the water quality of the groundwater sources was not significantly affected.
A rapid and effective method based on a novel permanent magnetic hypercrosslinked resin W150 was proposed for the removal of organic micropollutants in drinking water. W150 was prepared by suspension and post-crosslinking reaction and found to possess a high specific surface area of 1149.7 m2·g-1, a small particle size of 50 μm to 100 μm, and a saturation magnetization as high as 8 emu·g-1. W150 was used to eliminate nitrofurazone (NFZ) and oxytetracycline (OTC) from drinking water compared with commercial adsorbents XAD-4 and F400D. The adsorption kinetics of NFZ and OTC onto the three adsorbents well fitted the pseudo-second-order equation (r>0.972), and the adsorption isotherms were all well described by the Freundlich equation (r>0.851). Results showed that the reduction in adsorbent size and the enlargement in sorbent pores both accelerated adsorption. Moreover, the effect of particle size on adsorption was more significant than that of pore width. Given that the smallest particle size and the highest specific surface area were possessed by W150, it had the fastest adsorption kinetics and largest adsorption capacity for NFZ (180 mg·g-1) and OTC (200 mg·g-1). For the adsorbents with dominant micropores, the sorption of large-sized adsorbates decreased because of the inaccessible micropores. The solution pH and ionic strength also influenced adsorption.
The aggregation of common manganese dioxide (MnO2) colloids has great impact on their surface reactivity and therefore on their fates as well as associated natural and synthetic contaminants in engineered (e.g. water treatment) and natural aquatic environments. Nevertheless, little is known about the aggregation kinetics of MnO2 colloids and the effect of humic acid (HA) and surfactants on these. In this study, the early stage aggregation kinetics of MnO2 nanoparticles in NaNO3 and Ca(NO3)2 solutions in the presence of HA and surfactants (i.e., sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), and polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP)) were modeled through time-resolved dynamic light scattering. In the presence of HA, MnO2 colloids were significantly stabilized with a critical coagulation concentration (CCC) of ~300 mmol·L-1 NaNO3 and 4 mmol·L-1 Ca(NO3)2. Electrophoretic mobility (EPM) measurements confirmed that steric hindrance may be primarily responsible for increasing colloidal stability in the presence of HA. Moreover, the molecular and/or chemical properties of HA might impact its stabilizing efficiency. In the case of PVP, only a slight increase of aggregation kinetics was observed, due to steric reactions originating from adsorbed layers of PVP on the MnO2 surface. Consequently, higher CCC values were obtained in the presence of PVP. However, there was a negligible reduction in MnO2 colloidal stability in the presence of 20 mg·L-1SDS.
The performance of an integrated process including coagulation, ozonation, ceramic ultrafiltration (UF) and biologic activated carbon (BAC) filtration was investigated for the removal of organic matter and disinfection by-products (DBPs) precursors from micro-polluted surface water. A pilot scale plant with the capacity of 120 m3 per day was set up and operated for the treatment of drinking water. Ceramic membranes were used with the filtration area of 50 m2 and a pore size of 60 nm. Dissolved organic matter was divided into five fractions including hydrophobic acid (HoA), base (HoB) and neutral (HoN), weakly hydrophobic acid (WHoA) and hydrophilic matter (HiM) by DAX-8 and XAD-4 resins. The experiment results showed that the removal of organic matter was significantly improved with ozonation in advance. In sum, the integrated process removed 73% of dissolved organic carbon (DOC), 87% of UV254, 77% of trihalomethane (THMs) precursors, 76% of haloacetic acid (HAAs) precursors, 83%of trichloracetic aldehyde (CH) precursor, 77% of dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN) precursor, 51% of trichloroacetonitrile (TCAN) precursor, 96% of 1,1,1-trichloroacetone (TCP) precursor and 63% of trichloronitromethane (TCNM) precursor. Hydrophobic organic matter was converted into hydrophilic organic matter during ozonation/UF, while the organic matter with molecular weight of 1000–3000 Da was remarkably decreased and converted into lower molecular weight organic matter ranged from 200–500 Da. DOC had a close linear relationship with the formation potential of DBPs.
When bromide/iodide is present in source water, hypobromous acid/hypoiodous acid will be formed with addition of chlorine, chloramine, or other disinfectants. Hypobromous acid/hypoiodous acid undergoes reactions with natural organic matter in source water to form numerous brominated/iodinated disinfection byproducts (DBPs). In this study, tap water samples were collected from eight cities in China. With the aid of electrospray ionization-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry by setting precursor ion scans of m/z 35, m/z 81, and m/z 126.9, whole pictures of polar chlorinated, brominated, and iodinated DBPs in the tap water samples were revealed for the first time. Numerous polar halogenated DBPs were detected, including haloacetic acids, newly identified halogenated phenols, and many new/unknown halogenated compounds. Total organic chlorine, total organic bromine, and total organic iodine were also measured to indicate the total levels of all chlorinated, brominated, and iodinated DBPs in the tap water samples. The total organic chlorine concentrations ranged from 26.8 to 194.0 μg·L–1 as Cl, with an average of 109.2 μg·L–1 as Cl; the total organic bromine concentrations ranged from below detection limit to 113.3 μg·L–1 as Br, with an average of 34.7 μg·L–1 as Br; the total organic iodine concentrations ranged from below detection limit to 16.4 μg·L–1 as I, with an average of 9.1 μg·L–1 as I; the total organic halogen concentrations ranged from 31.3 to 220.4 μg·L–1 as Cl, with an average of 127.2 μg·L–1 as Cl.
The risk of water utilities would include the water quality failure and the water quantity failure, from the source to the tap, including the catchment, treatment, distribution and the customer plumbing system. In this paper, we proposed a practical evaluation method based on the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). The hierarchical structure of the water utilities was established in terms of the fault event analysis from the past failure accidents. The severity of criteria was preset by the experts and the probability of criteria was determined by a modified CUWA-TSM sheet with the consideration of the actual situations of the supply system. The evaluation model was successfully performed by a case study. Although, the method in this paper may not be as good as the framework of WSPs, it has a great advantage compared to WSPs and TSM. The risk management can be applied through specific software packages with a user-friendly interface, which means it is easier to implement. In addition, it can point out the critical control points (CCPs) for the decision-makers. So we believe this method will improve and play a more and more active role in the development of the risk management in China water works.
This study focused on evaluating the efficiency of powdered activated carbon (PAC) adsorption process and tackling chlorobenzenes and chlorophenols spill in drinking water source. The adsorption kinetics and PAC’s capacities for five chlorobenzenes and three chlorophenols at drinking water contamination levels were studied in order to determine the influence of different functional groups on the adsorption behavior. The results showed that PAC adsorption could be used as an effective emergency drinking water treatment process to remove these compounds. The adsorption kinetics took 30 min to achieve nearly equilibrium and could be described by both pseudo first-order and pseudo second-order models. A mathematic relationship was developed between the pseudo first-order adsorption rate constant, k1, and the solutes’ properties including lgKow, polarizability and molecular weight. The Freundlich isotherm equation could well describe the adsorption equilibrium behaviors of chlorinated aromatics with r2 from 0.920 to 0.999. The H-bond donor/acceptor group, hydrophobicity, solubility and molecular volume were identified as important solute properties that affect the PAC adsorption capacity. These results could assist water professionals in removing chlorinated aromatics during emergency drinking water treatment.
The presence of humic acid in drinking water treatment has received significant attention in recent years because of its adverse effects on the removal of many pollutants in coagulation. In this paper, the effects of water quality including pH, turbidity, alkalinity, and hardness on the removal of humic acid were investigated in a UV light hybridized coagulation process. Our results suggested that UV light radiation could effectively improve the removal rate of humic acid in coagulation under both neutral and basic conditions, and the variations of the selected water quality parameters had little adverse effect on the function of UV light. After UV light radiation, the removal rate of the nitro-humic acid (NHA) increased from 20% to 60% in coagulation, and increased further to 75% and 85% for the raw waters with 10.0 NTU kaolin and 100 mg·L-1 hardness, respectively. In addition to NHA, the removal rates of the humic acid extracted from peat coal (PHA) and the humic acid provided by Japan metals and chemicals company (JHA) in coagulation were also improved, both in the range of 80%–90% after undergoing UV light radiation. By changing the radiation location from prior to coagulation to the flocculation process, similar experimental results were obtained. The formation of positive charged sites after UV light radiation was considered to be the primary factor that led to an enhanced removal of the humic acid in coagulation.
High-pressure membrane process is one of the cost-effective technologies for the treatment of groundwater containing excessive dissolved solids. This paper reports a pilot study in treating a typical groundwater in Huaibei Plain containing excessive sodium, sulfate and fluoride ions. Three membrane systems were set up and two brands of reverse osmosis (RO), four low-pressure RO (LPRO) and one tight nanofiltration (NF) membranes were tested under this pilot study. An apparent recovery rate at about 75% was adopted. Cartridge filtration, in combination with dosing antiscalent, was not sufficient to reduce the fouling potential of the raw water. All RO and LPRO systems (except for the two severely affected by membrane fouling) demonstrated similar rejection ratios of the conductivity (~98.5%), sodium (~98.5%) and fluoride (~99%). Membrane fouling substantially reduced the rejection performance of the fouled membranes. The tight NF membrane also had a good rejection on conductivity (95%), sodium (94%) and fluoride (95%). All membranes rejected sulfate ion almost completely (more than 99%). The electricity consumptions for the RO, LPRO and NF systems were 1.74, 1.10 and 0.72 kWh?m-3 treated water, respectively. The estimated treatment costs by using typical RO, LPRO and tight NF membrane systems were 1.21, 0.98 and 0.96 CNY?m-3 finished water, respectively. A treatment process consisting of either LPRO or tight NF facilities following multi-media filtration was suggested.
Hydrophobic acid organic matter (HpoA) extracted from treated effluent has been known to improve the rejection of steroid hormone estrone by reverse osmosis (RO) and nanofiltration (NF) membranes. In this study, the effects of solution chemistry (solution pH and ionic strength) on the estrone rejection by NF membrane with the presence of HpoA were systematically investigated. Crossflow nanofiltration experiments show that the presence of HpoA significantly improved estrone rejection at all pH and ionic strength levels investigated. It is consistently shown that the “enhancement effect” of HpoA on estrone rejection at neutral and alkaline pH is attributed to the binding of estrone by HpoA macromolecules via hydrogen bonding between phenolic functional groups in feed solutions, which leads to an increase in molecular weight and appearance of negative charge. The membrane exhibited the best performance in terms of estrone rejection at pH 10.4 (compared to pH 4 and pH 7) as a result of strengthening the electrostatic repulsion between estrone and membrane with the presence of HpoA. At neutral pH level, the ability of HpoA macromolecules to promote estrone rejection became stronger with increasing ionic strength due to their more extended conformation, which created more chances for the association between estrone and HpoA. The important conclusion of this study is that increasing solution pH and salinity can greatly intensify the “enhancement effect” of HpoA. These results can be important for NF application in direct/indirect potable water reuse.
Seasonal variability in source water can lead to challenges for drinking water providers related to operational optimization and process control in treatment facilities. The objective of this study is to investigate seasonal variability of water quality in municipal small water systems (<3000 residents) supplied by surface waters. Residual chlorine and trihalomethanes (THM) were measured over seven years (2003–2009). Comparisons are made within each system over time, as well as between systems according to the type of their treatment technologies. THM concentrations are generally higher in the summer and autumn. The seasonal variability was generally more pronounced in systems using chlorination plus additional treatment. Chloroform, total THM (TTHM) and residual chlorine concentrations were generally lower in systems using chlorination plus additional treatment. Conversely, brominated THM concentrations were higher in systems using additional treatment. Residual chlorine was highest in the winter and lowest in the spring and summer. Seasonal variations were most pronounced for residual chlorine in systems with additional treatment. There was generally poor correlation between THM concentrations and concentrations of residual chlorine. Further study with these data will be beneficial in finding determinants and indicators for both quantity and variability of disinfection byproducts and other water quality parameters.