Water industry looks ahead on disinfection by-products

Controlling disinfection by-products in drinking water will be one of the water industry's major new challenges in the years ahead. An international seminar organised by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) in February heard that activated carbon treatment, ultrafiltration, and a reduction in residual chlorination were feasible but costly solutions.

Since disinfection by-products were first discovered in the mid-1970s, knowledge of their health effects has increased considerably. Public concern about the perceived cancer risks has led to tighter regulations, and in October last year the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced new guideline values.

The number of by-products covered has risen sharply from two in the WHO's 1984 guidelines to 15 this time. Most of the substances are by

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