The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) is in the process of developing a sophisticated regulatory strategy in an attempt to balance the risks associated with disinfectants and disinfection by-products (D/DBP) in drinking water. A major aspect of this strategy is the appropriate application of disinfectants and other treatment technologies to minimise the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs). This paper explores the cost and performance associated with these technological choices. It is clear that the least expensive choice for controlling chlorinated by-products would be to utilise an alternative disinfectant. However, precursor removal by enhanced coagulation and/or the application of granular activated carbon and membrane technology are very effective in controlling DBPs. The removal of precursors can have the effect of simultaneously controlling both chemical and microbiological risks.

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