Secondary formation of disinfection by-products by UV treatment of swimming pool water

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) during experimental UV treatment of pool water has previously been reported with little concurrence between laboratory studies, field studies and research groups. In the current study, changes in concentration of seven out of eleven investigated volatile DBPs were observed in experiments using medium pressure UV treatment, with and without chlorine and after post-UV chlorination. Results showed post-UV chlorine consumption increased, dose-dependently, with UV treatment dose. A clear absence of trihalomethane formation by UV and UV with chlorine was observed, while small yet statistically significant increases in dichloroacetonitrile and dichloropropanone concentrations were detected. Results indicate post-UV chlorination clearly induced secondary formation of several DBPs. However, formation of total trihalomethanes was no greater than what could be replicated by performing the DBP formation assay with higher chlorine concentrations to simulate extended chlorination. Post-UV chlorination of water from a swimming pool that continuously uses UV treatment to control combined chlorine could not induce secondary formation for most DBPs. Concurrence for induction of trihalomethanes was identified between post-UV chlorination treatments and simulated extended chlorination time treatment. Trihalomethanes could not be induced by UV treatment of water from a continuously UV treated pool. This indicates that literature reports of experimentally induced trihalomethane formation by UV may be a result of kinetic increase in formation by UV. However, this does not imply that higher trihalomethane concentrations would occur in pools that apply continuous UV treatment. The bromine fraction of halogens in formed trihalomethanes increased with UV dose. This indicates that UV removes bromine atoms from larger molecules that participate in trihalomethane production during post-UV chlorination. Additionally, no significant effect on DBP formation was observed due to photoinducible radical forming molecules NO3 - (potentially present in high concentrations in pool water) and H2O2 (added as part of commercially employed DBP reducing practices).
Original languageEnglish
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Pages (from-to)96-105
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Dechloraminator
  • Post-UV chlorination
  • DBP formation assay
  • batch test
  • Medium pressure UV lamp
  • Trihalomethane

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Secondary formation of disinfection by-products by UV treatment of swimming pool water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this