Pretreatment strategies for ion exchange to control brominated disinfection byproducts in potable reuse

Mahmut S. Ersan, Eric R.V. Dickenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The application of ion exchange (IX) resins to remove disinfection byproduct (DBP) precursors in wastewater effluents is challenging due to relatively high concentrations of competing anions. This study examined various pretreatment strategies to target competing ions to improve IX removal of DBP precursors, bromide and dissolved organic matter (DOM), measured as trihalomethane and haloacetic acid formation potentials (THMFP and HAAFP). IX batch experiments were performed with four commercial anion exchange (AIX) resins selective for bromide (BrP), DOM (A860), sulfate (MTA) and PFOA/PFOS (PFA), and one cation exchange (CIX) resin selective for iodide (CT). For single AIX treatments the bromide removal ranking was the following: PFA (58%) > MTA (51%) > BrP (43%) > A860 (16%), which corresponded with decreasing brominated THMFP removals and increasing bromine incorporation factors. For dual AIX combinations (PFA and BrP, MTA and BrP), either simultaneous or sequential treatments had the highest bromide (PFA + BrP [69%], MTA + BrP [67%], (PFA→BrP [77%], MTA→BrP [74%]) and Br-THMFP (THMFP [∼80%]) and Br-HAAFP (HAAFP [∼77%]) removals, and therefore the lowest fractions of brominated DBPs (Br-DBPs). Despite ozone (O3), biological active carbon (BAC), and granular activated carbon (GAC) pretreatments reducing the overall DOM concentration (33%), these pretreatment steps did not improve the bromide removals of the resins, although it did increase the Br-THMFP and Br-HAAFP removals by 2–38% and 13–20%, respectively. Nanofiltration (NF) pretreatment significantly removed sulfate (97%) resulting in an increased bromide removal of 19% by the AIX resins, which led to increased removal of Br-THMFP and Br-HAAFP by 93% and 96%, respectively. Among all the IX resins the CT resin had the highest bromide removal (83%) and lowest fraction of Br-DBPs. The results reveal pretreatment with existing technologies including AIX, O3/BAC/GAC, or NF can potentially enhance the removal of brominated DBP precursors by IX resins during potable reuse applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number134068
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Anion and cation exchange
  • Bromide
  • Disinfection byproduct precursors
  • Haloacetic acids
  • Potable reuse
  • Trihalomethanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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