The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Hydrophobicity and molecular size distribution of unknown TOX in drinking water

TitleHydrophobicity and molecular size distribution of unknown TOX in drinking water
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHua G, Reckhow DA
JournalJournal of Environmental Engineering
Start Page152
Date Published03/2008
KeywordsChlorine, Disinfection, Halogen organic compounds, particle size distribution, Potable water, Water treatment

The analysis of total organic halogen (TOX) in drinking water indicates that a substantial amount of the halogenated compounds cannot be accounted for by known specific disinfection by-products (DBPs). The primary aim of this research was to characterize the hydrophobicity and molecular size distribution of the unknown halogenated DBPs using XAD resins and ultrafiltration membranes. The impact of membrane rejection on the size analysis of unknown TOX was also investigated using chlorinated fulvic acid. Six finished waters from different locations and treatment processes were collected and fractionated into various hydrophobicity and molecular size groups. The results showed that most unknown TOX was in the size range between 0.5 kDa and 10 kDa, but it could have a wide spectrum of hydrophobicities. Simple ultrafiltration was not always reliable as a characterization tool, as it was shown to reject a significant fraction of DBPs with molecular weight (MW) lower than the membrane cutoffs. Flushing with deionized water was effective in removing these low MW compounds from the ultrafiltration cell. A significant reduction in the apparent size of unknown TOX resulted when low MW DBPs were flushed out of the cell (comparing with classic parallel ultrafiltration). Coagulation of fulvic acid also significantly reduced the apparent size of unknown TOX formed by chlorine.