Natural organic matter (NOM) of microbial, animal and vegetable origin in reservoir catchments is the key factor influencing most, if not all water treatment processes. The character of the NOM and its involvement in water treatment processes requires greater understanding for determination of improved removal processes and interactions with other water contaminants. It is considered that a greater understanding of NOM reactions would lead to far better predictive capacity for water treatment designers and operators to minimise its impacts in treated water. Maximising the removal of NOM in the production of drinking water has many attractions such as minimising the formation of disinfection by-products and bacterial regrowth in the distribution system. By enhancing NOM removal, residual colour is also minimised. This paper provides an overview of work performed in Australia, on the issue of NOM removal from raw waters using conventional and novel technologies.

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