A reactive species model for chlorine decay and THM formation under rechlorination conditions

Dominic L. Boccelli, Michael E. Tryby, James G. Uber, R. Scott Summers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

172 Scopus citations


Chlorine is typically used within drinking water distribution systems to maintain a disinfectant residual and minimize biological regrowth. Typical distribution system models describe the loss of disinfectant due to reactions within the water matrix as first order with respect to chlorine concentration, with the reactants in excess. Recent work, however, has investigated relatively simple dynamic models that include a second, hypothetical reactive species. This work extends these latter models to account for discontinuities associated with rechlorination events, such as those caused by booster chlorination and by mixing at distribution system junction nodes. Mathematical arguments show that the reactive species model will always represent chlorine decay better than, or as well as, a first-order model, under single dose or rechlorination conditions; this result is confirmed by experiments on five different natural waters, and is further shown that the reactive species model can be significantly better under some rechlorination conditions. Trihalomethane (THM) formation was also monitored, and results show that a linear relationship between total THM (TTHM) formation and chlorine demand is appropriate under both single dose and rechlorination conditions. This linear relationship was estimated using the modeled chlorine demand from a calibrated reactive species model, and using the measured chlorine demand, both of which adequately represented the TTHM formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2654-2666
Number of pages13
JournalWater research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Chlorine
  • Decay
  • Disinfection by-products
  • Model
  • Rechlorination
  • Trihalomethanes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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