The effect of ozonation on the structural and chemical characteristics of natural organic matter (NOM) and its isolated humic fractions, humic acid (HA) and fulvic acid, were studied using Fourier transform infrared coupled to attenuated total reflectance (FTIR-ATR), ultraviolet/visible (UV/Vis) spectroscopy, and synchronous scanning fluorescence (SSF) spectroscopy. The results were linked to the effect of ozonation on trihalomethane formation potential (THMfp) reduction for water standards with high THM precursors. Results showed that ozonation at a dose of 1 mg ozone/mg dissolved organic carbon (DOC) was capable of reducing DOC, UV absorbance at 254 nm (UV254), and THMfp by up to 42%, 95%, and 89% for the HA water standard, respectively. The study of UV/Vis, FTIR-ATR, and SSF revealed trends showing that ozone can alter the composition of DOC in the water standards, causing a significant reduction in aromaticity. The reduction of UV254 for each ozonated sample also affirms that ozone mainly targets aromatic moieties contained in NOM. FTIR-ATR results showed that the reduction of unsaturated functional groups, including aromatic rings and C = C bonds in the water standards tested, were the main components impacted by ozone application. SSF results also revealed that ozonation decreases the fluorescence intensity of the maximum peak – as well as the whole spectra.

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