This study describes a taste and odor event which occurred along the Ohio River during 1989 involving rinse water from a resin manufacturer that contained chemicals which reacted to form 2-ethyl-4-methyl-1,3-dioxolane (2EMD). The events under which the chemical was formed and transported from the resin manufacturing facility to the sewage treatment plan to the Ohio River are described. Taste and odors were detected in water supplies as far as 137 miles downstream from the point of discharge. Due to its hydrophilic nature, 2EMD was not sufficiently removed by the wastewater treatment plant using activated sludge treatment nor by drinking water treatment facilities downstream, even those which utilized granular activated carbon. 2EMD (consisting of cis:trans isomers, stable at a ratio of about 60:40) was the major component of the odor of the drinking water found in samples of the local water distribution system. An FPA panel described the synthesized cis/trans 60:40 isomer ratio of 2-ethyl-4-methyl-1,3-dioxolane as having a medicinal sweet or sickening sweet smell which matched the odor found in the samples from the impacted sites (resin manufacturer and drinking waters downstream).

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