Byproduct of chloramine disinfection found to be highly toxic


A recently discovered byproduct of chloramine disinfection - iodoacetic acid - is the most toxic ever found, according to researchers at the University of Illinois in the USA [1]. The findings have serious implications for operators of water treatment facilities looking to adopt chlorine alternatives.

There are currently three chemical alternatives to chlorine disinfection - ozone, chlorine dioxide and chloramines (a combination of chlorine and ammonia). All react to compounds in drinking water - resulting in various byproducts.

Four-lamp MP chamber

A fourth, non-chemical, alternative is UV disinfection. UV is extremely efficient at killing all water-borne pathogens - including Cryptosporidium and Giardia and their spores. While small amounts of chlorine (0.1-0.2 mg/litre) are usually used for residual, downstream disinfection, the level can be kept to an absolute minimum.

Following the University of Illinois study, Hanovia has received many enquiries about the use of UV as an alternative to chlorination. UV is already a popular method of water treatment with operators of water and wastewater facilities throughout the world.

UV disinfection systems are compact and can usually be installed within existing pipework with minimal disruption or down-time. Operation and maintenance is simple and can easily be carried out by on-site staff. Reduced chlorine usage, also results in significant cost savings for plant operators - as well as cutting down on chemical handling.

[1] Plewa, M. J. et al, (2004). Chemical and Biological Characterization of Newly Discovered Iodoacid Drinking Water Disinfection Byproducts. Environ. Sci. Technol., 38 (18), 4713-4722).

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