An original approach for modelling disinfection by-products formation in chlorinated water is proposed. Assuming a multi-step formation mechanism, and introducing partition coefficients to differentiate the various compounds formed as a consequence of halogen incorporation and oxidation reactions, a system of linear differential equations is obtained and solved in explicit terms. Two sets of solutions are derived: the first one assuming that the reaction rate is the same for all species included in the model, as a consequence of steady state approximation; the second one assuming that the reaction rate is different from one species to another. Experimental data, obtained varying reaction time and chlorine dose, are used to calibrate the two models. Statistic tests are also performed to compare the two sets of solutions and validate the assumed hypotheses.

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