Filtration, drinking water, humic acid, natural organic matter
Natural organic matter (NOM) has been identified as a precursor to disinfection by-product (DBP) formation in a potable water purification system, and can be measured on site as dissolved organic carbon (DOC). Disinfection by-products are harmful to human health and have been linked to cancer and genetic mutations. To eliminate the potential for DBP formation in the plant, it is necessary to design a treatment system targeting DOC removal prior to disinfection. This study investigates the use of filtration as a mechanism to remove DOC. Based on a bench-scale adsorption study of a variety of media, two filter configurations, each containing layers of novel adsorptive media, were designed to target the removal of DOC. The filters contained a variety of media, including natural materials and industrial waste products. The results of the novel configurations were compared to those from a conventional sand filter (the study control), constructed as per Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines. With percentage removals as high as 70% in some instances, the new filters, developed in this study, have the potential to remove DOC from drinking water.