Disinfection by-product formation following chlorination of drinking water: artificial neural network models and changes in speciation with treatment. Academic Article uri icon


  • Artificial neural network (ANN) models were developed to predict disinfection by-product (DBP) formation during municipal drinking water treatment using the Information Collection Rule Treatment Studies database complied by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The formation of trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids (HAAs), and total organic halide (TOX) upon chlorination of untreated water, and after conventional treatment, granular activated carbon treatment, and nanofiltration were quantified using ANNs. Highly accurate predictions of DBP concentrations were possible using physically meaningful water quality parameters as ANN inputs including dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentration, ultraviolet absorbance at 254nm and one cm path length (UV(254)), bromide ion concentration (Br(-)), chlorine dose, chlorination pH, contact time, and reaction temperature. This highlights the ability of ANNs to closely capture the highly complex and non-linear relationships underlying DBP formation. Accurate simulations suggest the potential use of ANNs for process control and optimization, comparison of treatment alternatives for DBP control prior to piloting, and even to reduce the number of experiments to evaluate water quality variations when operating conditions are changed. Changes in THM and HAA speciation and bromine substitution patterns following treatment are also discussed.

published proceedings

  • Sci Total Environ

author list (cited authors)

  • Kulkarni, P., & Chellam, S.

citation count

  • 75

complete list of authors

  • Kulkarni, Pranav||Chellam, Shankararaman

publication date

  • September 2010