Occurrence of aromatic amines and N-nitrosamines in the different steps of a drinking water treatment plant

  • Jurado-Sánchez B
  • Ballesteros E
  • Gallego M
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The occurrence of 24 amines within a full scale drinking water treatment plant that used chlorinated agents as disinfectants was evaluated for the first time in this research. Prior to any treatment (raw water), aniline, 3-chloroaniline, 3,4-dichloroaniline and N-nitrosodimethylamine were detected at low levels (up to 18 ng/L) but their concentration increased ∼10 times after chloramination while 9 new amines were produced (4 aromatic amines and 5 N-nitrosamines). Within subsequent treatments, there were no significant changes in the amine levels, although the concentrations of 2-nitroaniline, N-nitrosodimethylamine and N-nitrosodiethylamine increased slightly within the distribution system. Eleven of the 24 amines studied were undetected either in the raw and in the treatment plant samples analysed. There is an important difference in the behaviour of the aromatic amines and N-nitrosamines with respect to water temperature and rainfall events. Amine concentrations were higher in winter due to low water temperatures, this effect being more noticeable for N-nitrosamines. Aromatic amines were detected at their highest concentrations (especially 3,4-dichloroaniline and 2-nitroaniline) in treated water after rainfall events. These results may be explained by the increase in the levels of amine precursors (pesticides and their degradation products) in raw water since the rainfall facilitated the transport of these compounds from soil which was previously contaminated as a result of intensive agricultural practices. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Aromatic amines
  • Chloramines
  • Drinking water treatment plant
  • N-nitrosamines
  • Rainfall events

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