Differential toxicity of drinking water disinfected with combinations of ultraviolet radiation and chlorine

Michael Jacob Plewa, Elizabeth D. Wagner, Deborah H. Metz, Ramesh Kashinkunti, Katherine J. Jamriska, Maria Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Alternative technologies to disinfect drinking water such as ultraviolet (UV) disinfection are becoming more widespread. The benefits of UV disinfection include reduced risk of microbial pathogens such as Cryptosporidium and reduced production of regulated drinking water disinfection byproducts (DBPs). The objective of this research was to determine if mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity varied in response to different chlorination protocols with and without polychromatic medium pressure UV (MPUV) and monochromatic low pressure UV (LPUV) disinfection technologies. The specific aims were to analyze the mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of concentrated organic fractions from source water before and after chlorination and to determine the cytotoxicity and genotoxicity of the concentrated organic fractions from water samples treated with UV alone or UV before or after chlorination. Exposure of granular activated carbon-filtered Ohio River water to UV alone resulted in the lowest levels of mammalian cell cytotoxicity and genotoxicity. With combinations of UV and chlorine, the lowest levels of cytotoxicity and genotoxicity were observed with MPUV radiation. The best combined UV plus chlorine methodology that generated the lowest cytotoxicity and genotoxicity employed chlorination first followed by MPUV radiation. These data may prove important in the development of multibarrier methods of pathogen inactivation of drinking water, while limiting unintended toxic consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7811-7817
Number of pages7
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 17 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

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