Disinfection by-products (DBPs) are a group of chemical compounds that are generated from unintentional chemical reactions that occur between drinking water disinfectants (e.g. chlorine) and natural and anthropogenic constituents in water (e.g. organic matter, bromide, iodide). Some DBPs are suspected to be significant to public health (e.g. according to their reported mutagenicity) and thus are regulated in the water industry, with water companies required to ‘minimise disinfection by-products’ in the water that they supply to the public. Hundreds of potential DBPs have been reported in the academic and industry literature, though only a handful of these are currently regulated in most countries.
Imperial College London and Anglian Water have launched a PhD project with the aim to establish operational strategies to minimise the formation of a wide range of DBPs during drinking water treatment and distribution. The specific objectives of the project will be the:
- Investigation and evaluation of the concentrations of regulated and unregulated DBPs across Anglian Water supply systems.
- Summarising the risk factors and treatment conditions that lead to the formation of regulated and unregulated DBPs and matching these to Anglian Water source waters, treatment approaches, and distribution practices.
- Establishment of analytical techniques for monitoring a range of DBPs and gathering new DBP occurrence information at Anglian Water sites where needed.
- Proposal of strategies and process alterations to simultaneously minimise the widest range of DBPs (regulated and unregulated), considering both their relative typical occurrence concentrations and what is known about their relative toxicity.
Chrysoula completed her Bachelor degree in Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Crete in 2012. She went on to obtain an MSc in Environmental Systems Engineering at University College London in 2013 and she then joined Imperial College for this collaborative PhD project with Anglian Water.
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