Experiments were conducted to investigate the hypothesis that N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) is a potential disinfection by-product. NDMA was formed by the reaction of dimethylamine (DMA) with monochloramine and also with free chlorine in the presence of ammonia. We proposed a mechanism for NDMA formation which does not require the presence of nitrite as in N-nitrosation. The critical NDMA formation reactions consist of i) the formation of monochloramine by combination of free chlorine with ammonia, ii) the formation of 1,1-dimethylhydrazine (UDMH) intermediate from the reaction of DMA with monochloramine followed by, iii) the oxidation of UDMH by monochloramine to NDMA, and iv) the reversible chlorine transfer reaction between free chlorine/monochloramine and DMA which is parallel with i) and ii). A kinetic model was developed to validate the proposed mechanism.