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Volume 1 (2001), Pages 39-43
Technical Note

First Derivative UV Spectra of Surface Water as a Monitor of Chlorination in Drinking Water Treatment

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Marine Environmental Sciences, St. Andrews, New Brunswick E5B 2L9, Canada

Copyright © 2001 V. Zitko.


Many countries require the presence of free chlorine at about 0.1 mg/l in their drinking water supplies. For various reasons, such as cast-iron pipes or long residence times in the distribution system, free chlorine may decrease below detection limits. In such cases it is important to know whether or not the water was chlorinated or if nonchlorinated water entered the system by accident. Changes in UV spectra of natural organic matter in lakewater were used to assess qualitatively the degree of chlorination in the treatment to produce drinking water. The changes were more obvious in the first derivative spectra. In lakewater, the derivative spectra have a maximum at about 280 nm. This maximum shifts to longer wavelengths by up to 10 nm, decreases, and eventually disappears with an increasing dose of chlorine. The water treatment system was monitored by this technique for over 1 year and changes in the UV spectra of water samples were compared with experimental samples treated with known amounts of chlorine. The changes of the UV spectra with the concentration of added chlorine are presented. On several occasions, water, which received very little or no chlorination, may have entered the drinking water system. The results show that first derivative spectra are potentially a tool to determine, in the absence of residual chlorine, whether or not surface water was chlorinated during the treatment to produce potable water.