Trihalomethane compounds in the drinking water of Kuwait : a survey from source to consumer
A comprehensive survey of the presence of trihalomethane (THM) compounds, as chlorination by-products, in drinking water in Kuwait have been performed. The survey covers the whole drinking water treatment cycle, starting with sea water and ending with the consumer tap. The data generated by the survey was all derived from actual water treatment plants, operating under normal conditions. All four trihalomethane compounds, namely; chloroform (CHCI3), bromodichloromethane (CHBrCI2), dibromochloromethane (CHBr2CI) and bromoform (CHBr3) were covered. The study clearly showed that, although considerable amounts of THM compounds did form as a result of chlorination of sea water entering the multi-stage flash (MSF) distillation plants, these plants were highly efficient in removing these compounds. The average removal efficiency, based on THM compounds mass load in the sea water feed, was around 95%. Factors which were found to have an influence on the degree of formation of these compounds, include, chlorination practice (continuous vs. shock), sea water temperature, level of organic precursors and contact time. Of much more important consequence, as far as the presence of these compounds in drinking water is concerned, was the degree of THM compounds formation as a result of the chlorination of drinking water before it is pumped to the consumer. Here, not only all the compounds formed remain in the water but there is a definite tendency for continuous formation well after the actual chlorination process has taken place. Factors which were found affecting this formation include water temperature, contact time and chlorination dosage. Although, all samples collected showed that the presence of THM compounds was always below the United States Environmental Protection Agency maximum contaminant level of 100 ~g/L, a need exists for the optimization of all chlorination processes with particular emphasis on the chlorination of drinking water. In almost all kinds of water encountered in this study, bromoform was found to be by far the most dominant compound.