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Identification of wastewater dissolved organic carbon characteristics in reclaimed wastewater and recharged groundwater

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Nonvolatile dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in reclaimed wastewaters and groundwater was characterized and indicators of wastewater origin were identified. Over 50% of the DOC in activated carbon and reverse osmosis effluents was classified as hydrophilic, and no humic acid was isolated. In groundwater partially recharged by the reclaimed wastewaters, only 16% of the DOC was hydrophilic, 50% of the DOC was fulvic acid, and humic acid was recovered. The H:C ratios of the isolated fulvic acids were higher in the wastewaters and recharged groundwater than in deep well water not affected by recharge. N:C ratios in the wastewater and recharged groundwater fulvic and humic acid fractions were also higher than in the deep well water. The 1H NMR spectra of the effluent and recharged groundwater fulvic acid fractions exhibited a characteristic fingerprint pattern, indicating a correlation between origin and spectral appearance. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis confirmed the presence of specific trace organic compounds, including EDTA and alkylphenol polyethoxylate residues, in the wastewaters and recharged groundwater.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 1996

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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