For drinking water treatment plants that do not use disinfectant residual in the distribution system, it is important to limit availability of easily biodegradable natural organic matter (NOM) fractions which could enhance bacterial regrowth in the distribution system. This can be achieved by optimising the removal of those fractions of interest during treatment; however, this requires a better understanding of the physical and chemical properties of these NOM components. Fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) and liquid chromatography with online organic carbon detection (LC-OCD) were used to characterize NOM in water samples from one of the two water treatment plants serving Amsterdam, The Netherlands. No disinfectant residual is applied in the distribution system. Fluorescence EEM and LC-OCD were used to track NOM fractions. Whereas fluorescence EEM shows the reduction of humic-like as well as protein-like fluorescence signatures, LC-OCD was able to quantify the changes in dissolved organic carbon (DOC) concentrations of five NOM fractions: humic substances, building blocks (hydrolysates of humics), biopolymers, low molecular weight acids and neutrals.

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