Relative Importance and Contribution of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources of Nitrosamine Precursors

Project: Research project

Project Details


Relative Importance and Contribution of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources of Nitrosamine Precursors Relative Importance and Contribution of Anthropogenic and Natural Sources of Nitrosamine Precursors Project Abstract Research Objective. The goal of this project is to develop approaches to characterize relative sources of nitrosamine (NA) precursors (natural versus wastewater origins) and to understand how these sources influence treatability of the precursors to minimize nitrosamine formation. We aim not to repeat research funded currently or previously by WaterRF that have contributed to our understanding of NA sources (e.g., polymers, ion exchange), treatment practices (polymer optimization, precursor oxidation, activated carbon, etc.) or occurrence studies relating NDMA FP to bulk organic matter (DOC, DON, etc.) levels. Instead we aim to develop, use and translate novel new analytical strategies to quantitatively identify new or unknown NA precursors to better understand their potential sources and treatability, to use NA formation kinetics and pseudo-mechanistic models as a strategy to fingerprint the behavior of precursors, and to build links between research on model compounds as precursors of NAs and NAs present in drinking water supplies. Thus we aim to build upon findings of other WaterRF projects. Technical Approach. Our research effort is designed to maximize the level of actionable intelligence yielded from the project. This will be done by (1) focusing on NDMA because it occurs at higher levels than other NAs in UCMR2 data, (2) focusing on NA formation during chloramination because it is the primary oxidant/disinfectant where NA occurrence has been reported in UCMR2 data and information is needed for pending State, Provincial, and Federal regulatory policy decisions, and (3) realizing that chloramination is most commonly practiced near pH 8.0 (7.8 to 8.5) such that this project does not become a chloramine decomposition or chemistry based project. While this is our focus, our approach will implement emerging analytical methods for measuring groups of NAs (e.g., N-nitrosamines and C-nitrosamines) and consider in a limited fashion impacts of ozone alone or with subsequent chloramination on NA formation. Three tasks are proposed to achieve the research objectives. In the first task, we will develop novel spectrometry tools for identifying and characterizing NA precursors. In the second task, our team will quantify the reactivity and formation kinetics of the identified precursors using model compounds in DI and raw waters and use the information to develop models for NA formation. Lastly, we will extend the evaluations to characterize and profile the precursor material in raw waters. A variety of raw water sources with differing water quality profiles and source origins will be tested so that findings will be applicable to a broad spectrum of water sources. Anticipated Results& Benefits. The project is expected to result in new methods for identifying and analyzing nitrosamine precursors, correlations between bulk water parameters and nitrosamine yield, and models for estimating nitrosamine formation potential. By focusing our research efforts, our experienced and diverse team will take innovative discovery approaches to collect data and build models that answer fundamental research questions related to nitrosamines in drinking water: (1) How can different sources of trace-level nitrosamine precursors be quantified in drinking water supplies? and (2) What is the relative contribution of different sources of precursors potentially present in drinking water supplies to NA formation during chloramination? The benefit of this research is that identifying and understanding the sources of NA precursors will allow for better mitigation strategies (e.g., at wastewater treatment plants, in watersheds, in drinking water treatment plants) and potentially may help identify appropriate surrogates. Project Participants Submitting Organization: Arizona State University PI: Paul Westerhoff; Co-PIs: Susan Andrews, Imma Ferrer, Michael Thurman,& Zia Bukhari Funded Partners: University of Toronto, University of Colorado at Boulder,& American Water Utility Participants: City of Calgary (AB), Regional Municipality of Durham (ON), City of Minneapolis (MN), Peterborough Utilities Commission (ON), Startex-Jackson-Wellford-Duncan Water District (SC), York Region (ON). Budget: $300,000 WaterRF funds, $121,064 Cost-share and third-party in-kind contributions
Effective start/end date1/1/1411/1/16


  • Water Research Foundation: $300,000.00


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