Spatiotemporal Variability in N-Nitrosodimethylamine Precursor Levels in a Watershed Impacted by Agricultural Activities and Municipal Wastewater Discharges and Effects of Lime Softening

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    Abstract

    The Crow River, a tributary of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, U.S.A., that is impacted by agricultural activities and municipal wastewater discharges, was sampled approximately monthly at 12 locations over 18 months to investigate temporal and spatial variations in N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) precursor levels. NDMA precursors were quantified primarily by measuring NDMA formed under the low chloramine dose uniform formation conditions protocol (NDMAUFC) and occasionally using the high dose formation potential protocol (NDMAFP). Raw water NDMAUFC concentrations (2.2 to 128 ng/L) exhibited substantial temporal variation but relatively little spatial variation. An increase in NDMAUFC was observed for 126 of 169 water samples after lime-softening treatment. A kinetic model indicates that under chloramine-limited UFC test conditions, the increase in NDMAUFC can be attributed to a decrease in competition between precursors and natural organic matter (NOM) for chloramines and reduced interactions of precursors with NOM. NDMAUFC concentrations correlated positively with dissolved nitrogen concentration (ρ = 0.44, p < 0.01) when excluding the spring snowmelt period and negatively correlated with dissolved organic carbon concentration (ρ = −0.47, p < 0.01). Overall, NDMA precursor levels were highly dynamic and strongly affected by lime-softening treatment.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)13959-13969
    Number of pages11
    JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
    Volume57
    Issue number37
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Sep 19 2023

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2023 American Chemical Society.

    Keywords

    • N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA)
    • chloramination
    • disinfection byproducts
    • lime softening
    • natural organic matter (NOM)

    PubMed: MeSH publication types

    • Journal Article
    • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

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