Efforts to control of unwanted disinfection by-products (DBPs) can be hindered by the relatively low-frequency data that is generated from DBP monitoring for regulatory purposes. Differential UV absorbance (DUVA) has the potential to overcome some of these difficulties as a relatively simple and low-cost technique for the estimation of regulated DBPs (i.e., trihalomethanes, THMs, and haloacetic acids, HAAs). DUVA is based on the principle that differences in UV absorbance at specific wavelengths before and after chlorination can be correlated to DBP occurrence. This project sought to assess a lab-based protocol for the determination of a site-specific linear calibration curve for in situ real-time estimations of DBPs from DUVA measurement in water treatment plants (WTPs). A field spectrophotometer probe capable of high frequency scans within the UV light wavelength spectra with light paths of 100 mm was used. Models were developed to estimate DBP levels, at a scale representative of DUVA and DBP levels that actually occur in the WTP under study. Results showed that level of uncertainty on DBP levels estimation is relatively low (23% for HAAs and 32% for THMs). Although DBP estimations through DUVA are not of regulatory value, they can be used for real-time estimation of DBP levels to better inform operational decision making in water treatment plants and management of DBPs in distribution systems.
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