National Research Program


Origin, Characterization, and Quantification of Natural Organic Solutes in Water

Greater than 90 percent of the organic solutes in water are of natural origin, yet little is known about the chemistry or source of these organic materials. However, these substances are known to complex trace metals, to transport pesticides, to be precursors of carcinogen compounds upon chlorination, and to be a food source for aquatic organisms. These processes need further clarification and quantification. The overall objectives are to quantify and to identify organic solutes that affect water quality processes. Specific objectives are: (1) to measure the amount of different organic solutes in various hydrologic environments; (2) to understand the origin, structure, and reactivity of aquatic humic substances; (3) to predict the processes which affect the fate and movement of organic solutes in surface and subsurface environments; and (4) to elucidate the roles of natural organic solutes in water purification: reverse osmosis, chlorination, activated charcoal, and ozonation.

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