Evaluation of Dechlorinating Agents and Disposable Containers for Odor Testing of Drinking Water
Worley, Jennifer Lee
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As the bottled water trend continues to rise across the nation, drinking water utilities have become more concerned with ensuring consumer satisfaction of their product. Although public water supplies are safeguarded by regulations, aesthetically unappealing taste-and-odor problems have led consumers to search for alternative water sources, such as bottled water or tap water processed by point-of-use filters. Consequently, taste-and-odor monitoring has become important to the drinking water industry. Because many utilities use chlorine to disinfect the water, chlorine odor often masks other more subtle odors that may eventually cause consumer complaints. As treated water travels from the water treatment plant to the consumer, chlorine residual diminishes and may reveal a water's naturally less-pleasing odors. Consequently, odor monitoring at the water treatment plant, where chlorine concentrations are at a peak, may not identify potential displeasing smells. Proper evaluation of these odor-causing substances requires that the chlorine odor first be eliminated before evaluating any remaining odors. Dechlorinating agents can remove chlorine, but some will produce other unwanted odors or even remove certain odorous compounds. This research describes the efficiency of several of these agents (ascorbic acid, hydrogen peroxide, oxalic acid, sodium nitrite, and sodium thiosulfate) in dechlorinating chlorinated solutions of the earthy-smelling compound geosmin and musty-smelling MIB. Interfering odors in reusable containers pose another problem in drinking water odor analysis. The most common odor-analysis methods (TON and FPA) involve the use of glass flasks, which often either develop chalky odors or have persistent lingering odors from previous evaluations. Furthermore the glass flasks break easily and are difficult to clean. This research also evaluates the suitability of four types of disposable plastic containers for odor analyses.
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