The nature and chlorine reactivity of organic constituents in reclaimed water (tertiary-treated municipal wastewater) before, during, and after recharge into groundwater at the Montebello Forebay in Los Angeles County, CA, was the focus of this study. Dissolved organic matter (DOM) in reclaimed water from this site is primarily a mixture of aromatic sulfonates from anionic surfactant degradation, N-acetyl amino sugars and proteins from bacterial activity, and natural fulvic acid, whereas DOM from native groundwaters in the aquifer to which reclaimed water was recharged consists of natural fulvic acids. The hydrophilic neutral N-acetyl amino sugars that constitute 40% of the DOM in reclaimed water are removed during the first 3 m of vertical infiltration in the recharge basin. Groundwater age dating with 3H and 3He isotopes, and determinations of organic and inorganic C isotopes, enabled clear differentiation of recent recharged water from older native groundwater. Phenol structures in natural fulvic acids in DOM isolated from groundwater produced significant trihalomethanes (THM) and total organic halogen (TOX) yields upon chlorination, and these structures also were responsible for the enhanced SUVA and specific fluorescence characteristics relative to DOM in reclaimed water. Aromatic sulfonates and fulvic acids in reclaimed water DOM produced minimal THM and TOX yields.
Additional publication details
Nature and chlorine reactivity of organic constituents from reclaimed water in groundwater, Los Angeles County, California