During disinfection, dissolved organic matter (DOM) is the major precursor to form disinfection by-products (DBPs), which may be of potential human health concern. Previous research focused on waters of continental climates and less on subtropical environments. However, water sources in subtropical climates are regularly impacted by major rain events during the summer months. This study evaluated the C- and N-DBP precursor removal capacity of two conventional ion exchange (IEX) resins and one magnetic ion exchange (MIEX) resin with a raw water at normal conditions and impacted by a heavy rain event. The rain event introduced 3 mg C/L total organic carbon (TOC) comprised mainly of low to medium molecular weight organics. All three resins were able to remove TOC and DBP precursors (>66%) but being less efficient in reducing turbidity (3–48%) and colour (9–24%). The resin with the smallest bead size was affected the most by the increased medium MW DOM loading resulting in DOM and C-DBP precursor removal performance losses of 10% and 22%. When applied as a pre-treatment for coagulation, MIEX was more efficient in DBP precursor control than coagulation in addressing the additional organic and DBP precursor loading after a heavy rain event.

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