How are disinfection byproducts formed?
Disinfection byproducts can form when disinfectants, such as chlorine, react with naturally present compounds in the water. The formation of these products mainly takes place during reactions in which organic substances, such as humic acid and fulvine acid, play a part. These materials end up in water during the decomposition of plant matter. In 1971 the American scientist Bellar discovered that chloroform was abscent in the Ohio river water which was used for drinking water production. However, chloroform appeared to be present in drinking water originating from drinking water purification plants. This proves the formation of disinfection byproducts during chlorination. Little information can be found on the chemical structures of humic acids and fulvine acids. The mechanism of formation of disinfection byproducts therefor remains unclear. Research is difficult, because of the extensive number of substances that make up organic matter. Which factors influence the formation of disinfec