Disinfection by chlorination or UV-treatment is widely used to inactivate pathogenic viruses, bacteria and protozoa before distributing treated drinking water to consumers. Natural organic matter presents a challenge to disinfection processes on account of its reactions with disinfectants and/or protective interactions with pathogens. Changes to climate regimes are increasing pathogen and natural organic matter loads to raw water supplies, such that water suppliers are in urgent need of sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective methods for monitoring the effectiveness of disinfection processes. This project will develop novel indicators of drinking water chlorination and UV-disinfection based on spectroscopic methods. The new indicators will be used in pilot and full-scale operations to assess the extent of exposure of microorganisms to disinfectants and predict the formation of unwanted byproducts, including toxic chemicals, organic compounds that encourage bacterial regrowth, and odorous compounds. The project will be conducted in close cooperation with drinking water suppliers, to ensure that project results will translate into practical outcomes.
Kathleen Murphy, Masoumeh (Mohanna) Heibati