To assess the stability of precursors of the chloramine disinfection byproduct N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) under conditions expected in effluent-dominated surface waters, effluent samples from four municipal wastewater treatment plants were subjected to chlorination and chloramination followed by incubation in the presence of inocula derived from activated sludge. Samples subjected to free chlorine disinfection showed lower initial concentrations of NDMA precursors than those that were not chlorinated or were disinfected with pre-formed chloramines. For chloraminated and control (unchlorinated) treatments, the concentration of NDMA precursors decreased by an average of 24% over the 30-day incubation in samples from three of the four facilities. At the fourth facility, where samples were collected on three different days, NDMA precursor concentrations decreased by approximately 80% in one sample and decreased by less than 20% in the other two samples. in contrast to the low reactivity of the NDMA precursors, NDMA disappeared within 30 days under the conditions employed in these experiments. These results and measurements made in an effluent-dominated river suggest that although NDMA may be removed after wastewater effluent is discharged, wastewater-derived NDMA precursors could persist long enough to form significant concentrations of NDMA in drinking water treatment plants that use water originating from sources that are subjected to wastewater effluent discharges. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.