The scope if this work was directed to address potential differences or similarities between natural organic matter (NOM) and effluent organic matter (EfOM) by combining operationally defined categorization protocols with state-of-the-art characterization techniques to investigate the bulk of organics in raw drinking water samples (surface and groundwater) and wastewater samples with respect to origin, size, structure, and functionality. Samples of different drinking water and wastewater prior to and after groundwater recharge from France and the U.S. were considered in this study. The physical, chemical, and biological processes that generate and modify organic compounds in natural and engineered systems share many similarities. As a result, the chemical characteristics of effluent derived and naturally derived organic compounds overlap extensively. However, the aromatic moieties present in the EfOM matrix are probably of different origin than the aromatic moieties of the NOM as indicated by a relationship we have established between SUVA and the aromatic carbon content.

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