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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

Relating freshwater organic matter fluorescence to organic carbon removal efficiency in drinking water treatment

Bieroza, Magdalena; Baker, Andy; Bridgeman, John


Monthly raw and clarified water samples were obtained for 16 UK surface water treatment works. The fluorescence excitation–emission matrix (EEM) technique was used for the assessment of total organic carbon (TOC) removal and organic matter (OM) characterisation. The impact of algae presence in water on TOC removal, and its relationship with fluorescence, was analysed. Fluorescence peak C intensity was found to be a sensitive and reliable measure of OM content. Fluorescence peak C emission wavelength and peak T intensity (reflecting the degree of hydrophobicity and the microbial fraction, respectively) were found to characterize the OM; the impact of both on TOC removal efficiency was apparent. OM fluorescence properties were shown to predict TOC removal, and identify spatial and temporal variations. Previous work indicates that the trihalomethane (THM) concentration of treated water can be predicted from the raw water TOC concentration. The simplicity, sensitivity, speed of analysis and low cost, combined with potential for incorporation into on-line monitoring systems, mean that fluorescence spectroscopy offers a robust analytical technique to be used in conjunction with, or in place of, other approaches to OM characterisation and THM formation prediction.


Total organic carbon removal; Trihalomethanes; Fluorescence; Organic matter

Published in

Science of the Total Environment
2009, Volume: 407, number: 5, pages: 1765-1774
Publisher: Elsevier

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences

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