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Identification of N-Nitrosodimethylamine precursors to improve their control

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N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a probable human carcinogen and drinking water disinfection by-product. NDMA forms as the product of reactions between chloramines and precursor compounds in water. This dissertation aims to provide insight into the removal of NDMA precursors, their nature,

N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a probable human carcinogen and drinking water disinfection by-product. NDMA forms as the product of reactions between chloramines and precursor compounds in water. This dissertation aims to provide insight into the removal of NDMA precursors, their nature, and a method to aid in their identification. Watershed-derived precursors accounted for more of and greater variability to NDMA formation upon chloramination than polymer-derived precursors in environmental samples. Coagulation polymers are quaternary amines, which have low NDMA yield but high use rates. Watershed-derived precursors were removed up to 90% by sorption to activated carbon, but activated carbon exhibited much less (<10%) sorption of polymer-derived precursors. Combined with literature NDMA molar yields of model anthropogenic compounds, where anthropogenic chemicals in some cases have NDMA yields >90% and biological compounds always have yields <2%, trace, organic, amine containing, anthropogenic chemicals were implicated as the most likely source of NDMA precursors in the watershed. Although activated carbon removes these precursors well, identification of individual compounds may result in more cost effective mitigation strategies. Therefore, I developed a method to isolate NDMA precursors from other organic matter into methanol to facilitate their identification. Optimization of the method resulted in a median recovery of NDMA precursors of 82% from 10 surface waters and one wastewater. The method produces 1,000X concentrated NDMA precursors and, in collaboration with the University of Colorado Center for Environmental Mass Spectrometry, time of flight mass spectrometry (TOF-MS) was performed on multiple treated wastewater and raw drinking water isolates. During TOF-MS, tertiary amines can cleave to form a neutral loss and an R group ion that is dependent on the original structure and I wrote a software program to “trawl” exported TOF-MS spectra for the diagnostic neutral loss resulting from fragmentation of tertiary amines. Methadone was identified as one new NDMA precursor that occurs at concentrations that form physiologically relevant levels of NDMA in surface water and wastewater. The approach used here to identify NDMA precursors is adaptable to other unknown disinfection by-product precursors given that a functional group is known that can 1)control sorption and 2)produce a predictable diagnostic fragment.

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2015

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TiO2 nanomaterials: human exposure and environmental release

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Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanomaterial use is becoming more prevalent as is the likelihood of human exposure and environmental release. The goal of this thesis is to develop analytical techniques to quantify the level of TiO2 in complex matrices to support

Titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanomaterial use is becoming more prevalent as is the likelihood of human exposure and environmental release. The goal of this thesis is to develop analytical techniques to quantify the level of TiO2 in complex matrices to support environmental, health, and safety research of TiO2 nanomaterials. A pharmacokinetic model showed that the inhalation of TiO2 nanomaterials caused the highest amount to be absorbed and distributed throughout the body. Smaller nanomaterials (< 5nm) accumulated in the kidneys before clearance. Nanoparticles of 25 nm diameter accumulated in the liver and spleen and were cleared from the body slower than smaller nanomaterials. A digestion method using nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, and hydrogen peroxide was found to digest organic materials and TiO2 with a recovery of >80%. The samples were measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and the method detection limit was 600 ng of Ti. An intratracheal instillation study of TiO2 nanomaterials in rats found anatase TiO2 nanoparticles in the caudal lung lobe of rats 1 day post instillation at a concentration of 1.2 ug/mg dry tissue, the highest deposition rate of any TiO2 nanomaterial. For all TiO2 nanomaterial morphologies the concentrations in the caudal lobes were significantly higher than those in the cranial lobes. In a study of TiO2 concentration in food products, white colored foods or foods with a hard outer shell had higher concentrations of TiO2. Hostess Powdered Donettes were found to have the highest Ti mass per serving with 200 mg Ti. As much as 3.8% of the total TiO2 mass was able to pass through a 0.45 um indicating that some of the TiO2 is likely nanosized. In a study of TiO2 concentrations in personal care products and paints, the concentration of TiO2 was as high as 117 ug/mg in Benjamin Moore white paint and 70 ug/mg in a Neutrogena sunscreen. Greater than 6% of Ti in one sunscreen was able to pass through a 0.45 um filter. The nanosized TiO2 in food products and personal care products may release as much as 16 mg of nanosized TiO2 per individual per day to wastewater.

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2011

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Use of ozonation and constructed wetlands to remove contaminants of emerging concern from wastewater effluent

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Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) present in wastewater effluent can threat its safe discharge or reuse. Additional barriers of protection can be provided using advanced or natural treatment processes. This dissertation evaluated ozonation and constructed wetlands to remove CECs from

Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) present in wastewater effluent can threat its safe discharge or reuse. Additional barriers of protection can be provided using advanced or natural treatment processes. This dissertation evaluated ozonation and constructed wetlands to remove CECs from wastewater effluent. Organic CECs can be removed by hydroxyl radical formed during ozonation, however estimating the ozone demand of wastewater effluent is complicated due to the presence of reduced inorganic species. A method was developed to estimate ozone consumption only by dissolved organic compounds and predict trace organic oxidation across multiple wastewater sources. Organic and engineered nanomaterial (ENM) CEC removal in constructed wetlands was investigated using batch experiments and continuous-flow microcosms containing decaying wetland plants. CEC removal varied depending on their physico-chemical properties, hydraulic residence time (HRT) and relative quantities of plant materials in the microcosms. At comparable HRTs, ENM removal improved with higher quantity of plant materials due to enhanced sorption which was verified in batch-scale studies with plant materials. A fate-predictive model was developed to evaluate the role of design loading rates on organic CEC removal. Areal removal rates increased with hydraulic loading rates (HLRs) and carbon loading rates (CLRs) unless photolysis was the dominant removal mechanism (e.g. atrazine). To optimize CEC removal, wetlands with different CLRs can be used in combination without lowering the net HLR. Organic CEC removal in denitrifying conditions of constructed wetlands was investigated and selected CECs (e.g. estradiol) were found to biotransform while denitrification occurred. Although level of denitrification was affected by HRT, similar impact on estradiol was not observed due to a dominant effect from plant biomass quantity. Overall, both modeling and experimental findings suggest considering CLR as an equally important factor with HRT or HLR to design constructed wetlands for CEC removal. This dissertation provided directions to select design parameters for ozonation (ozone dose) and constructed wetlands (design loading rates) to meet organic CEC removal goals. Future research is needed to understand fate of ENMs during ozonation and quantify the contributions from different transformation mechanisms occurring in the wetlands to incorporate in a model and evaluate the effect of wetland design.

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2013

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Modeling engineered nanoparticles removal by conventional activated sludge treatment process in wastewater treatment plant

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The production and applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has increased rapidly in the last decade, with release of ENM to the environment through the sewer system and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) being of concern. Currently, the literature on ENM

The production and applications of engineered nanomaterials (ENM) has increased rapidly in the last decade, with release of ENM to the environment through the sewer system and municipal wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) being of concern. Currently, the literature on ENM release from WWTPs and removal of ENM by WWTPs is insufficient and disorganized. There is little quantitative data on the removal of multi-walled carbon nanotubes (MWCNTs), graphene oxide (GO), or few-layer graphene (FLG), from wastewater onto biomass. The removal of pristine and oxidized MWCNTs (O-MWCNTs), graphene oxide (GO), few-layer graphene (FLG) and Tween™ 20-coated Ag ENM by the interaction with biomass were determined by programmable thermal analysis (PTA) and UV-Vis spectrophotometry. The removal of pristine and O-MWCNTs was 96% from the water phase via aggregation and 30-min settling in presence or absence of biomass with an initial MWCNT concentration of 25 mg/L. The removal of 25 mg/L GO was 65% with biomass concentration at or above 1,000 mg TSS/L. The removal of 1 mg/L FLG was 16% with 50 mg TSS/L. The removal of Tween™ 20 Ag ENM with concentration from 0.97 mg/L to 2.6 mg/L was from 11% to 92% with biomass concentration of 500 mg TSS/L to 3,000 mg TSS/L, respectively.

A database of ENM removal by biomass was established by analyzing data from published papers, and non-linear solid-liquid distribution functions were built into the database. A conventional activated sludge (CAS) model was built based on a membrane bioreactor (MBR) model from a previous paper. An iterative numeric approach was adapted to the CAS model to calculate the result of non-linear adsorption of ENM by biomass in the CAS process. Kinetic studies of the CAS model showed the model performance changed mostly in the first 10 days after changing influent chemical oxygen demand (COD) concentration, and reached a steady state after 11 days. Over 60% of ENMs which have distribution coefficients in the database reached higher than 50% removal by the CAS model under general operational conditions. This result suggests that traditional WWTP which include the CAS process can remove many known types of ENMs in certain degree.

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2015

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Metal oxide nanoparticles in electrospun polymers and their fate in aqueous waste streams

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Nanotechnology is becoming increasingly present in our environment. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), defined as objects that measure less than 100 nanometers in at least one dimension, are being integrated into commercial products because of their small size, increased surface area, and

Nanotechnology is becoming increasingly present in our environment. Engineered nanoparticles (ENPs), defined as objects that measure less than 100 nanometers in at least one dimension, are being integrated into commercial products because of their small size, increased surface area, and quantum effects. These special properties have made ENPs antimicrobial agents in clothing and plastics, among other applications in industries such as pharmaceuticals, renewable energy, and prosthetics. This thesis incorporates investigations into both application of nanoparticles into polymers as well as implications of nanoparticle release into the environment. First, the integration of ENPs into polymer fibers via electrospinning was explored. Electrospinning uses an external electric field applied to a polymer solution to produce continuous fibers with large surface area and small volume, a quality which makes the fibers ideal for water and air purification purposes. Indium oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles were embedded in polyvinylpyrrolidone and polystyrene. Viscosity, critical voltage, and diameter of electrospun fibers were analyzed in order to determine the effects of nanoparticle integration into the polymers. Critical voltage and viscosity of solution increased at 5 wt% ENP concentration. Fiber morphology was not found to change significantly as a direct effect of ENP addition, but as an effect of increased viscosity and surface tension. These results indicate the possibility for seamless integration of ENPs into electrospun polymers. Implications of ENP release were investigated using phase distribution functional assays of nanoscale silver and silver sulfide, as well as photolysis experiments of nanoscale titanium dioxide to quantify hydroxyl radical production. Functional assays are a means of screening the relevant importance of multiple processes in the environmental fate and transport of ENPs. Four functional assays – water-soil, water-octanol, water-wastewater sludge and water-surfactant – were used to compare concentrations of silver sulfide ENPs (Ag2S-NP) and silver ENPs (AgNP) capped by four different coatings. The functional assays resulted in reproducible experiments which clearly showed variations between nanoparticle phase distributions; the findings may be a product of the effects of the different coatings of the ENPs used. In addition to phase distribution experiments, the production of hydroxyl radical (HO•) by nanoscale titanium dioxide (TiO2) under simulated solar irradiation was investigated. Hydroxyl radical are a short-lived, highly reactive species produced by solar radiation in aquatic environments that affect ecosystem function and degrades pollutants. HO• is produced by photolysis of TiO2 and nitrate (NO3-); these two species were used in photolysis experiments to compare the relative loads of hydroxyl radical which nanoscale TiO2 may add upon release to natural waters. Para-chlorobenzoic acid (pCBA) was used as a probe. Measured rates of pCBA oxidation in the presence of various concentrations of TiO2 nanoparticles and NO3- were utilized to calculate pseudo first order rate constants. Results indicate that, on a mass concentration basis in water, TiO2 produces hydroxyl radical steady state concentrations at 1.3 times more than the equivalent amount of NO3-; however, TiO2 concentrations are generally less than one order of magnitude lower than concentrations of NO3-. This has implications for natural waterways as the amount of nanoscale TiO2 released from consumer products into natural waterways increases in proportion to its use.

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2015

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Investigations into the occurrence, formation and fate of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) in air and water

Description

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, has been found in clouds and fogs at concentration up to 500 ng/L and in drinking water as disinfection by-product. NDMA exposure to the general public is not well understood because of knowledge gaps

N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen, has been found in clouds and fogs at concentration up to 500 ng/L and in drinking water as disinfection by-product. NDMA exposure to the general public is not well understood because of knowledge gaps in terms of occurrence, formation and fate both in air and water. The goal of this dissertation was to contribute to closing these knowledge gaps on potential human NDMA exposure through contributions to atmospheric measurements and fate as well as aqueous formation processes.

Novel, sensitive methods of measuring NDMA in air were developed based on Solid Phase Extraction (SPE) and Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) coupled to Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS). The two measuring techniques were evaluated in laboratory experiments. SPE-GC-MS was applicable in ambient air sampling and NDMA in ambient air was found in the 0.1-13.0 ng/m3 range.

NDMA photolysis, the main degradation atmospheric pathway, was studied in the atmospheric aqueous phase. Water soluble organic carbon (WSOC) was found to have more impact than inorganic species on NDMA photolysis by competing with NDMA for photons and therefore could substantially increase the NDMA lifetime in the atmosphere. The optical properties of atmospheric WSOC were investigated in aerosol, fog and cloud samples and showed WSOC from atmospheric aerosols has a higher mass absorption efficiency (MAE) than organic matter in fog and cloud water, resulting from a different composition, especially in regards of volatile species, that are not very absorbing but abundant in fogs and clouds.

NDMA formation kinetics during chloramination were studied in aqueous samples including wastewater, surface water and ground water, at two monochloramine concentrations. A simple second order NDMA formation model was developed using measured NDMA and monochloramine concentrations at select reaction times. The model fitted the NDMA formation well (R2 >0.88) in all water matrices. The proposed model was then optimized and applied to fit the data of NDMA formation from natural organic matter (NOM) and model precursors in previously studies. By determining the rate constants, the model was able to describe the effect of water conditions such as DOC and pH on NDMA formation.

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2016

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Occurrence and Speciation of Bromine and Iodine in Drinking Water Sources

Description

Halogens in drinking water sources, such as bromine (Br) and iodine (I) pose no direct health risk, but are critical precursors in formation of cyto- and genotoxic brominated and iodinated (Br-/I-) DBPs. However, few spatial or historic datasets exist for

Halogens in drinking water sources, such as bromine (Br) and iodine (I) pose no direct health risk, but are critical precursors in formation of cyto- and genotoxic brominated and iodinated (Br-/I-) DBPs. However, few spatial or historic datasets exist for bromine and iodine species in drinking water sources. This dissertation aims to quantify and understand the occurrence and speciation of Br and I in groundwater and surface water serving as source waters for drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). Aggregation of data from >9000 non-drinking water sampling locations in USA collected from 1930-2017 on halides (bromide (Br-) and iodide (I-)) determined that Br- concentrations were 50 μg/L and 100 μg/L; and I- concentrations were 12 μg/L and 13 μg/L in surface and groundwater respectively. Although, these locations were not drinking water sources, this first of its kind analysis provides potential bounds for Br- and I-. To focus specifically on DWTP sources, a nationwide survey of >250 drinking water sources was conducted between 2018-2020. Br- ion is the only bromine specie, whereas both inorganic (iodide and iodate ions) and organic iodine occur. I- concentrations ranged from 1-250 μg/L and are 4 to 100 times lower than Br- concentrations (10-7800 μg/L, median=80 μg/L). No strong correlation exists between bromide and iodide occurrence (R<0.5, p<0.005). I- was detected in 50% of the samples (75th percentile=5 μg/L) and IO3- was detected in 40% (75th percentile=3 μg/L) of all the samples.
To quantify iodine species, tandem ion chromatography and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry was applied for the first time in drinking water sources. I- and IO3- peaks were well resolved and have minimum detection limit of 0.4 μg/L and 0.7 μg/L respectively. Organic iodine (Org-I) peaks in select drinking water samples from the nationwide survey were partically resolved ranging from <5 to 40 μg/L.
This dissertation provides updated nationwide Br- survey and first ever national I species survey. The data generated through this dissertation will be useful to further Br-/I-DBP formation and toxicity research by providing relevant drinking water sources information. Future research targeting Br- and I- removal is advocated for managing Br-/I-DBPs in watersheds.

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Date Created
2021

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Electrospun polymeric nanocomposites for aqueous inorganic and organic pollutant removal

Description

Electrospinning is a means of fabricating micron-scale diameter fiber networks with enmeshed nanomaterials. Polymeric nanocomposites for water treatment require the manipulation of fiber morphology to expose nanomaterial surface area while anchoring the nanomaterials and maintaining fiber integrity; that is the

Electrospinning is a means of fabricating micron-scale diameter fiber networks with enmeshed nanomaterials. Polymeric nanocomposites for water treatment require the manipulation of fiber morphology to expose nanomaterial surface area while anchoring the nanomaterials and maintaining fiber integrity; that is the overarching goal of this dissertation. The first investigation studied the effect of metal oxide nanomaterial loadings on electrospinning process parameters such as critical voltage, viscosity, fiber diameter, and nanomaterial distribution. Increases in nanomaterial loading below 5% (w/v) were not found to affect critical voltage or fiber diameter. Nanomaterial dispersion was conserved throughout the process. Arsenic adsorption tests determined that the fibers were non-porous. Next, the morphologies of fibers made with carbonaceous materials and the effect of final fiber assembly on adsorption kinetics of a model organic contaminant (phenanthrene, PNT) was investigated. Superfine powdered activated carbon (SPAC), C60 fullerenes, multi-walled carbon nanotubes, and graphene platelets were added to PS and electrospun. SPAC maintained its internal pore structure and created porous fibers which had 30% greater PNT sorption than PS alone and a sevenfold increase in surface area. Carbon-based nanomaterial-PS fibers were thicker but less capacious than neat polystyrene electrospun fibers. The surface areas of the carbonaceous nanomaterial-polystyrene composites decreased compared to neat PS, and PNT adsorption experiments yielded decreased capacity for two out of three carbonaceous nanomaterials. Finally, the morphology and arsenic adsorption capacity of a porous TiO2-PS porous fiber was investigated. Porous fiber was made using polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) as a porogen. PVP, PS, and TiO2 were co-spun and the PVP was subsequently eliminated, leaving behind a porous fiber morphology which increased the surface area of the fiber sevenfold and exposed the nanoscale TiO2 enmeshed inside the PS. TiO2-PS fibers had comparable arsenic adsorption performance to non-embedded TiO2 despite containing less TiO2 mass. The use of a sacrificial polymer as a porogen facilitates the creation of a fiber morphology which provides access points between the target pollutant in an aqueous matrix and the sorptive nanomaterials enmeshed inside the fiber while anchoring the nanomaterials, thus preventing release.

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2018

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Detection and surface reactivity of engineered nanoparticles in water

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Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) pose risk potentials, if they exist in water systems at significant concentrations and if they remain reactive to cause toxicity. Three goals guided this study: (1) establishing NP detecting methods with high sensitivity to tackle low

Engineered nanoparticles (NPs) pose risk potentials, if they exist in water systems at significant concentrations and if they remain reactive to cause toxicity. Three goals guided this study: (1) establishing NP detecting methods with high sensitivity to tackle low concentration and small sizes, (2) achieving assays capable of measuring NP surface reactivity and identifying surface reaction mechanisms, and (3) understanding the impact of surface adsorption of ions on surface reactivity of NPs in water.

The size detection limit of single particle inductively coupled plasma spectrometry (spICP-MS) was determined for 40 elements, demonstrating the feasibility of spICP-MS to different NP species in water. The K-means Clustering Algorithm was used to process the spICP-MS signals, and achieved precise particle-noise differentiation and quantitative particle size resolution. A dry powder assay based on NP-catalyzed methylene blue (MB) reduction was developed to rapidly and sensitively detect metallic NPs in water by measuring their catalytic reactivity.

Four different wet-chemical-based NP surface reactivity assays were demonstrated: “borohydride reducing methylene blue (BHMB)”, “ferric reducing ability of nanoparticles (FRAN)”, “electron paramagnetic resonance detection of hydroxyl radical (EPR)”, and “UV-illuminated methylene blue degradation (UVMB)”. They gave different reactivity ranking among five NP species, because they targeted for different surface reactivity types (catalytic, redox and photo reactivity) via different reaction mechanisms. Kinetic modeling frameworks on the assay outcomes revealed two surface electron transfer schemes, namely the “sacrificial reducing” and the “electrode discharging”, and separated interfering side reactions from the intended surface reaction.

The application of NPs in chemical mechanical polishing (CMP) was investigated as an industrial case to understand NP surface transformation via adsorbing ions in water. Simulation of wastewater treatment showed CMP NPs were effectively removed (>90%) by lime softening at high pH and high calcium dosage, but 20-40% of them remained in water after biomass adsorption process. III/V ions (InIII, GaIII, and AsIII/V) derived from semiconductor materials showed adsorption potentials to common CMP NPs (SiO2, CeO2 and Al2O3), and a surface complexation model was developed to determine their intrinsic complexation constants for different NP species. The adsorption of AsIII and AsV ions onto CeO2 NPs mitigated the surface reactivity of CeO2 NPs suggested by the FRAN and EPR assays. The impact of the ion adsorption on the surface reactivity of CeO2 NPs was related to the redox state of Ce and As on the surface, but varied with ion species and surface reaction mechanisms.

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Date Created
2018

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Historical and future needs for geospatial iodide occurrence and sources in surface and ground waters of the United States of America

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Iodide (I-) in surface and groundwaters is a potential precursor for the formation of iodinated disinfection by-products (I-DBPs) during drinking water treatment. The aim of this thesis is to provide a perspective on the sources and occurrence of I- in

Iodide (I-) in surface and groundwaters is a potential precursor for the formation of iodinated disinfection by-products (I-DBPs) during drinking water treatment. The aim of this thesis is to provide a perspective on the sources and occurrence of I- in United States (US) source waters based on ~9200 surface water (SW) and groundwater (GW) sampling locations. The median I- concentrations observed was 16 μg/l and 14 μg/l, respectively in SW and GW. However, these samples were rarely collected at water treatment plant (WTP) intakes, where such iodide occurrence data is needed to understand impacts on DBPs. Most samples were collected in association with geochemical studies. We conclude that I- occurrence appears to be influenced by geological features, including halite rock/river basin formations, saline aquifers and organic rich shale/oil formations. Halide ratios (Cl-/I-, Br-/I- and Cl-/Br-) were analyzed to determine the I- origin in source waters. SW and GW had median Cl-/I- ratios of ~3600 μg/μg and median Br-/I- ratios of ~15 μg/μg. For states with I- concentration >50 μg/l (e.g., Montana and North Dakota), a single source (i.e., organic rich formations) can be identified. However, for states like California and Texas that have wide-ranging I- concentration of below detection limit to >250 μg/l, I- occurrence can be attributed to a mixture of marine and organic signatures. The lack of information of organic iodine, inorganic I- and IO3- in source waters limits our ability to predict I-DBPs formed during drinking water treatment, and new occurrence studies are needed to fill these data gaps. This is first of its kind study to understand the I- occurrence through historical data, however we also identify the shortcomings of existing databases used to carry out this study.

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Date Created
2018