Formation of nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) during chlorine disinfection of wastewater effluents prior to use in irrigation systems

Pehlivanoglu-Mantas E. , HAWLEY E., DEEB R., SEDLAK D.

WATER RESEARCH, vol.40, no.2, pp.341-347, 2006 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.watres.2005.11.012
  • Title of Journal : WATER RESEARCH
  • Page Numbers: pp.341-347


The probable human carcinogen nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is produced when waste-water effluent is disinfected with chlorine. In systems where wastewater effluent is used for landscape or crop irrigation, relatively high chlorine doses (i.e., up to 2000mg-min/L) are often used to ensure adequate disinfection and to minimize biofouling in the irrigation system. To assess the formation of NDMA in such systems, samples were collected from several locations in full-scale wastewater treatment systems and their associated irrigation systems. Up to 460 ng/L of NDMA was produced in full-scale systems in which chloramines were formed when wastewater effluent was disinfected with chlorine in the presence of ammonia. Less than 20 ng/L of NDMA was produced in systems that used free chlorine (i.e., HOCl/OCl-) for disinfection in the absence of ammonia. The production of NDMA in ammonia-containing systems was correlated with the concentration of NDMA precursors in the wastewater effluent and the overall dose of chlorine applied. Much of the NDMA formation occurred in chlorine contact basins or in storage basins where water that contained chloramines was held after disinfection. When landscape or crop irrigation is practiced with ammonia-containing wastewater effluent, NDMA production can be controlled by use of lower chlorine doses or by application of alternative disinfectants. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.