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Curtin University
Curtin Water Quality Research Centre

Disinfection By-Products

Pathogen control remains of the highest priority for the supply of safe drinking water and the maintenance of effective disinfectant residuals is essential to achieve this aim. Intentional or unintentional failure to provide adequate disinfection has contributed to many preventable waterborne disease outbreaks. Chlorination and chloramination are the most widely used methods of disinfection of drinking water in Australia and many other parts of the world and, although the use of these chemicals has many advantages, a major drawback is the formation of potentially harmful disinfection by-products (DBPs). CWQRC research is developing predictive tools for evaluation and optimisation of drinking water treatment technologies, to improve disinfectant management and minimize the production of emerging potentially harmful DBPs.

Current and Recent Projects

Advanced Water Treatment Technologies to Minimize the Formation of Emerging Disinfection By-Products in Potable and Reuse Water

Key Contacts: Anna Heitz, Cynthia Joll, Ina Kristiana, Suzanne McDonald, Caroline Taylor (PhD Student)
Collaborators: Water Corporation, GHD, EAWAG
Funded by: ARC Linkage Grant, Water Corporation, GHD

This project aims to produce a model for use in the planning and design of water treatment processes, which will allow for process design to minimise concentrations of emerging and harmful DBPs in drinking water. It will also provide information on emerging DBPs, which will inform water utilities and regulators in resource planning and setting new Australian drinking water guidelines.

Methods Development for Disinfection By-products Associated with Cancer

Key contacts: Anna Heitz, Cynthia Joll, Ina Kristiana
Collaborators: University of Alberta, Canada, University of Massachusetts, MoBull Consulting, USA, Australian Water Quality Centre
Funded by: American Water Research Foundation

The objectives of this project are to develop reliable and sensitive analytical methods for identification and quantification of representative target compounds chosen based on their likelihood of occurrence in drinking water systems, and the likelihood that they are relevant to the causation of cancer at drinking water concentrations. The occurrence and formation of these compounds in source waters when disinfected by chlorination and chloramination under realistic but controlled laboratory conditions will also be investiagated. The CWQRC portion of this project involves developing analytical methods for halopropionitriles and halobutyronitriles at ng/L concentrations and their analysis in treated water samples.

Predictive Tool for Improved Disinfection Management & Water Treatment

Key Contacts: Anna Heitz
Collaborators: Water Corporation and Dept of Mathematics and Statistics, Curtin University
Funded by: Water Corporation

The main objective of this project is to develop a model to enable the prediction of the formation of THMs and the consumption of chlorine, using database of rapidly measured water quality parameters. This would enable prediction of these parameters that are otherwise empirically determined by time-consuming experiments. The project will also determine whether these datasets can be used to predict the most effective treatment process for each water source under investigation.