Y.H. Chuang, G.S. Wang, and H.H. Tung. Chlorine residuals and haloacetic acid reduction in rapid sand filtration. Chemosphere 2011 Nov;85(7):1146-53.
It is quite rare to find biodegradation in rapid sand filtration for drinking water treatment. This might be due to frequent backwashes and low substrate levels. High chlorine concentrations may inhibit biofilm development, especially for plants with pre-chlorination. However, in tropical or subtropical regions, bioactivity on the sand surface may be quite significant due to high biofilm development-a result of year-round high temperature. The objective of this study is to explore the correlation between biodegradation and chlorine concentration in rapid sand filters, especially for the water treatment plants that practise pre-chlorination. In this study, haloacetic acid (HAA) biodegradation was found in conventional rapid sand filters practising pre-chlorination. Laboratory column studies and field investigations were conducted to explore the association between the biodegradation of HAAs and chlorine concentrations. The results showed that chlorine residual was an important factor that alters bioactivity development. A model based on filter influent and effluent chlorine was developed for determining threshold chlorine for biodegradation. From the model, a temperature independent chlorine concentration threshold (Cl(threshold)) for biodegradation was estimated at 0.46-0.5mgL(-1). The results imply that conventional filters with adequate control could be conducive to bioactivity, resulting in lower HAA concentrations. Optimizing biodegradable disinfection by-product removal in conventional rapid sand filter could be achieved with minor variation and a lower-than-Cl(threshold) influent chlorine concentration. Bacteria isolation was also carried out, successfully identifying several HAA degraders. These degraders are very commonly seen in drinking water systems and can be speculated as the main contributor of HAA loss.