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A fingerprint analysis method for characterization of dissolved organic matter in secondary effluents of municipal wastewater treatment plant

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Dissolved organic matter (DOM) in wastewater and reclaimed water is related to water quality, safety, and treatability. In this study, DOM was characterized through a fingerprint analysis method for DOM characterization using resin fractionation followed by size exclusion chromatography (SEC). Resin fractionation was used in the first step to divide the DOM in water samples into six resin fractions, namely, hydrophobic acids (HOA), hydrophobic bases (HOB), hydrophobic neutrals (HON), hydrophilic acids (HIA), hydrophilic bases (HIB), and hydrophilic neutrals (HIN). SEC analysis was then performed to separate each resin fraction into several (n) subfractions with different molecular weights (MW). Thus, the total DOM in the water sample was fractionated into 6n subfractions. After quantification of each subfraction by dissolved organic carbon (DOC), a fingerprint graph was constructed to express the distribution of DOM in the subfractions. The fingerprint analysis method was applied to a secondary effluent sample during ozonation. Ozonation (dose of 10 mg L−1) removed the DOC only by 8 % and reduced UV254 of the sample by 36 %. Fingerprint graphs also revealed that the resin fractions changed quite limitedly but transformation of subfractions occurred notably.

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This study was funded by National Science Fund of China (No. 51208278/51138006), National High-tech R&D Program of China (863 Program No. SS2013AA061805), and the Collaborative Innovation Center for Regional Environmental Quality.

Author information

Correspondence to Hong-Ying Hu.

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Responsible editor: Angeles Blanco

Electronic supplementary material

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Two methods, one table and three figures present detailed information on DOM fractionation method with resins (Method S1), fluorescence spectroscopy analysis (Method S2), integration values of SEC-fractions and subfractions in a DOM sample (Table S1), schematic diagram of DOM fractionation procedure (Fig. S1), EEM fluorescence spectra of the resin-fraction HOA of the samples before and after ozonation (Fig. S2) and SEC chromatograms of the resin-fractions of the samples before and after ozonation (Fig. S3). (DOC 324 kb)

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Tang, X., Wu, Q., Zhao, X. et al. A fingerprint analysis method for characterization of dissolved organic matter in secondary effluents of municipal wastewater treatment plant. Environ Sci Pollut Res 21, 14211–14218 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-014-3336-3

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  • Secondary effluent
  • Dissolved organic matter
  • Fingerprint analysis
  • Resin fractionation
  • Molecular weight distribution
  • Ozonation