To assess the occurrence and fate of NDMA and its precursors wastewater treatment plants, samples from wastewater treatment plants and industrial sources were analyzed for NDMA, total NDMA precursors and dimethylamine (DMA). The median concentration of NDMA in untreated wastewater was
approximately 80 ng/L with maximum concentrations of up to 790 ng/L, presumably due to sources unrelated to domestic sewage. Concentrations of DMA in untreated wastewater ranged from approximately 50 to 120 μg/L and accounted for a majority of the NDMA precursors. The removal
of NDMA during secondary biological treatment exhibited considerable variability, with overall removal ranging from 0 to 75%. In contrast, removal of NDMA precursors and DMA usually exceeded 70%. The median concentration of NDMA in secondary effluent prior to disinfection was
46 ng/L. Although DMA was removed during secondary treatment, other NDMA precursors in wastewater effluent will result in formation of additional NDMA upon disinfection with chloramines.
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