What are disinfection byproducts (DBPs)?
Disinfectants are an essential element of drinking water treatment because of the barrier they provide against waterborne disease-causing microorganisms. Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) form when disinfectants used to treat drinking water react with naturally occurring materials in the water (e.g., decomposing plant material). Total trihalomethanes (TTHM – chloroform, bromoform, bromodichloromethane, and dibromochloromethane) and five haloacetic acids (HAA5 – monochloro-, dichloro-, trichloro-, monobromo-, dibromo-) are widely occurring classes of DBPs formed during disinfection with chlorine and chloramine. The amount of trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids in drinking water can change from day to day, depending on the season, water temperature, amount of disinfectant added, the amount of plant material in the water, and a variety of other factors.