The emergence of chlorinating drinking water over a century ago, is widely determined as one of the “most significant public health advances of the millennium.” Through chlorination of water, “life expectancy has been increased by 30 years since 1900,” infectious illnesses (specifically waterborne diseases) have been controlled or eradicated, and general welfare has increased. While these benefits of chlorination have never been contested, it has also unintentionally created an adverse effect that is important to note: the creation of disinfection byproducts, or simply DBPs.
A History of DBPs
Disinfection byproducts were discovered in 1974 by J.J. Rook, who found that free chlorine reacts with organic matter and forms a wide range of substances that make up DBPs. The reaction occurs naturally and unintentionally when chlorine is introduced into a water system and reacts with a variety of compounds such as decayed vegetation, fish, or other organisms who have died and disintegrated. The reaction of the natural compounds with chlorine results in the occurrence of Trihalomethanes (THMs), Halocetic Acids (HAAs), Chlorite, and Bromate within a water supply.
EPA’s Stage 1 and Stage 2 DBP Regulation
Though the occurrence of DBPs were unintentional by those who chlorinate water supplies, the genotoxicity, mutagenicity, and carcinogenicity of DBPs were cause for major concern to the EPA. The EPA determined that rules needed to be created to regulate the percentage of DBPs allowed in a water supply. They created the Stage 1 and Stage 2 DBP Regulations. These regulations lower permissible levels of THMs and regulated five of the HAAs. They also requir maximum contaminant levels to be based on locational running annual averages. Stage 2 regulations also changed where samples need to be taken from—the hardest locations from Stage 1). It’s important to sample from the ‘worst’ locations (or locations with the highest DBP levels) in order to collect accurate data and enforce compliance to the highest standards. To understand more about the EPA’s regulation on DBPs please visit: https://www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/stage-1-and-stage-2-disinfectants-and-disinfection-byproducts-rules
DBP Health Effects
These rules were set in place after it was discovered that THMs, HAAs, Chlorite, and Bromate created chemicals, such as chloroform, which caused adverse health effects. The chemical compounds DBPs formed have shown potential links to cancer and infertility. DPBs are bio-accumulative, which means that they cannot be destroyed by the body. They accumulate and stay in body tissues, potentially leading to the negative health effects described above. While these health effects have mainly manifested themselves during animal testing (rats), scientists have noted that they believe these health issues can be found in humans as well. Therefore, the importance of maintaining DBP levels has become a significantly important issue to wastewater manufacturers and communities who are concerned about their safety and health.
The Big Question
Thus, the question remains: How do I, as a wastewater manufacturer, reduce my DBPs to ensure compliance to the EPA’s Stage 1 and 2 rules?
The ATS Solution
ATS, believes that following regulations and staying ahead of potential problems is vital to the industry.
To combat this pesky problem, ATS uses a three-part system, which includes precursor, modification, and post-formation efforts to combat DBPs at any stage of formation.
By using precursor methods, ATS aims to cancel out the problem before it begins. If DBPs have started to emerge at small levels, ATS uses modification methods to change the outcome and reduce the issue. If DBPs have already formed and are at high levels, ATS uses post-formation efforts to eliminate the spread of DBPs and exterminate them. Each of these methods help to reduce and remove DBPs from any water system that has been inundated with this issue.
Contact ATS today to learn how our three-part system can help your facility combat dangerous DBPs.