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Keywords:

  • disinfection byproducts;
  • chloroform;
  • trihalomethanes;
  • haloacetic acid;
  • geochemistry;
  • surface water hydrology;
  • water management

ABSTRACT: The biodegradation potential of two drinking water disinfection byproducts was investigated using aquifer materials obtained from approximately 100 and 200 meters below land surface in an aerobic aquifer system undergoing aquifer storage recovery of treated surface water. No significant biodegradation of a model trihalomethane compound, chloroform, was observed in aquifer microcosms under aerobic or anaerobic conditions. In contrast, between 16 and 27 percent mineralization of a radiolabeled model haloacetic acid compound, chloroacetic acid, was observed. These results indicate that although the potential for biodegradation of chloroacetic acid exists in deep aquifer systems, chloroform entrained within these aquifers or formed in situ will tend to persist. These results have important implications for water managers planning to meet anticipated lowered permissible levels of trihalomethanes in drinking water.