N -nitrosodimethylamine formation upon ozonation and identification of precursors source in a municipal wastewater treatment plant

Massimiliano Sgroi, Paolo Roccaro, Gregg L. Oelker, Shane A. Snyder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Ozone doses normalized to the dissolved organic carbon concentration were applied to the primary influent, primary effluent, and secondary effluent of a wastewater treatment plant producing water destined for potable reuse. Results showed the most N-Nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) production from primary effluent, and the recycle streams entering the primary clarifiers were identified as the main source of NDMA precursors. The degradation of aminomethylated polyacrylamide (Mannich) polymer used for sludge treatment was a significant cause of precursor occurrence. A strong correlation between NDMA formation and ammonia concentration was found suggesting an important role of ammonia oxidation on NDMA production. During ozonation tests in DI water using dimethylamine (DMA) as model precursor, the NDMA yield significantly increased in the presence of ammonia and bromide due to the formation of hydroxylamine and brominated nitrogenous oxidants. In addition, NDMA formation during ozonation of dimethylformamide (DMF), the other model precursor used in this study, occurred only in the presence of ammonia, and it was attributable to the oxidation of DMF by hydroxyl radicals. Filtered wastewater samples (0.7 μm) produced more NDMA than unfiltered samples, suggesting that ozone reacted with dissolved precursors and supporting the hypothesis of polymer degradation. Particularly, the total suspended solids content similarly affected NDMA formation and the UV absorbance decrease during ozonation due to the different ozone demand created in filtered and unfiltered samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10308-10315
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 2 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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