Abstract

Formation of disinfectant by-products was investigated in the Harare water supply system from February to April 2015. Sampling sites were selected from the lake, Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works and critical points in the distribution system. The spatial variations of trihalomethanes and selected water quality parameters were investigated for 15 sampling points in 5 sampling campaigns to assess suitability for drinking. All trihalomethane species were measured, namely chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform. Only chloroform and bromodichloromethane were detected. The study confirmed that there is trihalomethanes formation in the Harare water distribution system and that it is affected by the residence time and presence of organic matter in the system. However, the levels of trihalomethanes are generally within the levels suggested by the World Health Organization. Only bromodichloromethane presents a risk for long-term exposure as it had levels that exceeded the limit for long-term exposure suggested by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Bromodichloromethane, turbidity and free residual chlorine levels were not suitable for drinking in some of the zones. Boosting of chlorine residuals is necessary especially in areas with free chlorine less than 0.2 mg/L. Injection of ammonia, periodic cleaning of storage reservoirs, and flushing of lines will reduce trihalomethanes formation.

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