N2 yields from monochloramine conversion by granular activated carbons are decisive for effective swimming pool water treatment
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Inorganic chloramines (mono-, di- and trichloramine) are formed in swimming pool water from the unintended reaction of free chlorine with ammonia that is introduced by bathers. Monochloramine is of particular interest as it is known to react further in pool water forming harmful DBPs, such carcinogenic N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). During pool water treatment with granular activated carbon (GAC) filters, monochloramine is transformed by chemical reactions on the carbon surface to N2 and ammonia. As ammonia is led back into the pool where it is chlorinated again under the renewed formation of inorganic chloramines, it is recommended to use GACs with a high N2 yield for monochloramine transformation in pool water treatment. In this study, yields of N2 and ammonia from monochloramine conversion by commercially available GACs were determined using a fixed-bed reactor system under conditions that are typical for swimming pool water treatment. The N2 yields remained constant with on-going exposure of the GAC to monochloramine and ranged from 0.5% to 21.3%, depending on the type of GAC used. Correlation analyses were conducted to identify carbon properties that can determine the N2 yield for monochloramine conversion, such as the amount of oxygen groups, the elemental composition and the trace metal content. It was found that the N2 yield significantly correlates with the copper content of the tested carbons. Model calculations combining pool hydraulics with formation/abatement of inorganic chloramines and NDMA as well as chloramine transformations in GAC filters showed that the concentration of inorganic chloramines and carcinogenic NDMA can be decreased by a factor of ∼2, if the tested GACs could be modified to convert up to ∼50 % of the monochloramine to N2.