Research: Assimilable organic carbon (AOC) precursors contribute to AOC formation in distributed water

Ohkouchi, Y., B.T. Ly, S. Ishikawa, Y. Aoki, S. Echigo, and S. Itoh. A survey on levels and seasonal changes of assimilable organic carbon (AOC) and its precursors in drinking water. Environ Technol. 2011 Oct;32(13-14):1605-13.

Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.

In Japan, customers’ concerns about chlorinous odour in drinking water have been increasing. One promising approach for reducing chlorinous odour is the minimization of residual chlorine in water distribution, which requires stricter control of organics to maintain biological stability in water supply systems. In this investigation, the levels and seasonal changes of assimilable organic carbon (AOC) and its precursors in drinking water were surveyed to accumulate information on organics in terms of biological stability. In tap water samples purified through rapid sand filtration processes, the average AOC concentration was 174 microgC/L in winter and 60 microgC/L in summer. This difference seemed to reflect the seasonal changes of AOC in the natural aquatic environment. On the other hand, very little or no AOC could be removed after use of an ozonation-biological activated carbon (BAC) process. Especially in winter, waterworks should pay attention to BAC operating conditions to improve AOC removal. The storage of BAC effluent with residual chlorine at 0.05-0.15 mgCl2/L increased AOC drastically. This result indicated the possibility that abundant AOC precursors remaining in the finished water could contribute to newly AOC formation during water distribution with minimized residual chlorine. Combined amino acids, which remained at roughly equivalent to AOC in finished water, were identified as major AOC precursors. Prior to minimization of residual chlorine, enhancement of the removal abilities for both AOC and its precursors would be necessary.

Comments are closed.