The influence of suspended clay/solid particles on organic-coagulant reactions during water chlorination was investigated by analyses of total product formation potential (TPFP) and disinfection by-product (DBP) distribution as a function of exchanged clay cation, coagulant organic polymer, and reaction time. Montmorillonite clays appeared to act as a catalytic center where the reaction between adsorbed polymer and disinfectant (chlorine) was mediated closely by the exchanged clay cation. The transition-metal cations in clays catalyzed more effectively than other cations the reactions between a coagulant polymer and chlorine, forming a large number of volatile DBPs. The relative catalytic effects of clays/solids followed the order Ti-Mont > Fe-Mont > Cu-Mont > Mn-Mont > Ca-Mont > Na-Mont > quartz > talc. The effects of coagulant polymers on TPFP follow the order nonionic polymer > anionic polymer > cationic polymer. The catalytic role of the clay cation was further confirmed by the observed inhibition in DBP formation when strong chelating agents (o-phenanthroline and ethylenediamine) were added to the clay suspension. Moreover, in the presence of clays, total DBPs increased appreciably when either the reaction time or the amount of the added clay or coagulant polymer increased. For volatile DBPs, the formation of halogenated methanes was usually time-dependent, with chloroform and dichloromethane showing the greatest dependence.
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