The effects of seasonal change, impoundment, and stratification on trihalomethane precursors

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Virginia Tech


The major objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of seasonal changes in Lake Manassas and its watershed (late winter to late summer), the impoundment of Broad Run, and the stratification of Lake Manassas on trihalomethane (THM)-precursors in Broad Run, upstream and downstream of the reservoir, and in Lake Manassas. An additional objective was to determine the molecular-size distributions of the dissolved organic carbon, and the THM precursors of the organic carbon pool in Lake Manassas during stratification.

Raw water samples were collected from March through August on Broad Run immediately upstream of the reservoir, at two sites in the reservoir-- one approximately 0.27 miles from the dam and the second, at a more central location, 0.73 miles from the dam, and on Broad Run 2.81 miles below the dam. During stratification two samples were collected from each lake site-- one from the epilimnion, and the second from the hypolimnion. All of the samples were size fractionated by ultrafiltration and chlorinated for determination ofTHMFP. The differences in THMprecursor characteristics were determined by assessing the differences in the total organic carbon (TOC) concentrations and THM-formation potentials (THMFPs) of the various size fractions.

The TOe and THM concentrations generally increased from late winter to late summer at all stations. The concentrations in Lake Manassas and in Broad Run below the dam were consistently higher than those observed in Broad Run upstream of the lake, indicating that impoundment causes an increase in levels of THM precursors. In addition, during stratification higher THM yields were produced by the predominantly low-molecular-weight precursors « 5,000) in the epilimnion of Lake Manassas, while the predominantly high-molecular-weight precursors (> 5,000 daltons) were low-yielding-THM precursors.