Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Environmental Engr. (M.S.E.V.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Jeffrey Cunningham, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Sarina Ergas, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Luke Mulford, Ph.D.


Trihalomethane Formation Potential, Chlorine, Chlorine Dose, Temperature, Chloroform, Dichlorobromomethane, Dibromochloromethane, Bromoform, Hillsborough County, Water Reclamation


Disinfection is an essential process in the treatment of municipal wastewater before the treated wastewater can be discharged to the environment. Hillsborough County's Northwest Regional Water Reclamation Facility (NWRWRF) in Tampa, Florida, currently uses ultraviolet (UV) light for disinfection. However, this method has proven expensive to implement and maintain, and may not be effective if the light transmission is poor. For these reasons, Hillsborough County is considering switching from UV light to sodium hypochlorite for disinfection. However, hypochlorite (chlorine) disinfection has disadvantages as well, such as the production of disinfection by-products (DBPs) such as trihalomethanes (THM) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), which may have adverse impacts on the quality of surface waters that receive the treated wastewater.

Therefore, the objectives of this research are (1) to compare NWRWRF typical operating conditions and water quality to those of two nearby facilities (River Oaks and Dale Mabry Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plants) that currently employ chlorine disinfection, (2) to determine the chlorine demand of treated effluent from NWRWRF, (3) to quantify the DBP formation potential of treated effluent from NWRWRF, and (4) to determine the effects of temperature, reaction time, and chlorine dose on chlorine demand and THM formation.

To inform laboratory experiments, the quality of final effluent was monitored at NWRWRF and at two nearby wastewater treatment plants that currently use hypochlorite for disinfection. At these two facilities, pH of 7.0-8.0, chemical oxygen demand (COD) of 12-26 mg/L, alkalinity of 200-250 mg/L as CaCO3, chlorine residual of 1.5-6.0 mg/L, and total trihalomethanes of 100-190 ix μg/L (mostly chloroform) were observed. Conditions at NWRWRF were similar to those at Dale Mabry and River Oaks AWWTP, suggesting that chlorine demand and THM formation at NWRWRF would be similar to those at the two AWWTP, if chlorination is to be used. THM experimental results agreed with this suggestion.

Chlorine dose and temperature effects on the free chlorine residual and THMs production in NWRWRF filtered wastewater effluent were determined. Filtered effluent was collected and transported to USF laboratory where it was tested for 3 different chlorine doses (6 mg/L, 9 mg/L and 12 mg/L as Cl2) and 3 different temperatures (16°C, 23°C, and 30°C) at 7 different contact times (15, 30, 45, 60, 75, 90, and 120 min) in duplicate. The total number of batches prepared was: 3 different chlorine doses × 3 different temperatures × 7 different reaction times = 126 reactors.

According to Florida Administrative code 62-600.440, total chlorine residual should be at least 1 mg/L after a contact time of at least 15 min at peak hourly flow. Also, according to Florida Administrative code 62-600.440, if effluent wastewater has a concentration of fecal coliforms greater than 10,000 per 100 mL before disinfection, FDEP requires that the product of the chlorine concentration C (in mg/L as Cl2) and the contact time t (in minutes) be at least 120. Results showed that free chlorine residual was always above 1 mg/L in 15 min contact time for all chlorine doses and temperatures tested in this thesis. However, to be conservative, thesis conclusions and recommendations were based on the more stringent regulation: C*t ≥ 120 mg.min/L, assuming that the number of fecal coliform in NWRWRF wastewater effluent exceeds 10,000 per 100 mL prior to disinfection. The analysis showed that free chlorine residual for 6 mg/L was below the FDEP standard at all temperatures. At 16 °C and 23 °C, chlorine doses of 9 and 12 mg/L resulted in an appropriate free chlorine residual above the FDEP standard. However, a chlorine dose of 12 mg/L was resulting in high residual, which means high THM would be expected. Therefore, at 16 x and 23°C, 9 mg/L would be preferable. At 30 °C, only the chlorine dose of 12 mg/L met the standard at all contact times.

As expected, free chlorine residual decreased with an increase in temperature from 23°C to 30°C. Surprisingly, the residual at 16°C was lower than residual at 23°C. The production of THMs increased with higher contact time in all the experiments completed. Chlorine dose didn't have an effect on THM formation at 23°C, but it did at 30°C and 16°C, where THM concentrations were generally higher with the increase of chlorine dose. Temperature effect was noticed in most of the experiments, where THM production was usually higher at higher temperatures, except some cases where formation was similar for different temperatures. Chloroform, dichlorobromomethane, dibromochloromethane production ranges were respectively: 20-127 μg/L, 18-59 μg/L, and 3-7 μg/L. Bromoform concentrations were not observed in this experiment at any temperature or chlorine dose.

According to Florida Administrative code 62-302.530, Criteria for Surface Water Quality Classifications, the Florida Department for Environmental Protection (FDEP) set the following limits for THM concentrations in wastewater effluent to be as the following; 470 μg/L for chloroform, 22 μg/L for dichlorobromomethane, 34 μg/L for dibromochloromethane, and 360 μg/L for bromoform. Experimental results on NWRWRF filtered effluent showed that only dichlorobromomethane exceeded the limits set by FDEP at about 30 min contact time for all temperatures and chlorine doses tested. However, according to Florida Administrative code 62- 302-400, proposed changes to the code have set higher DCBM limit of 57 μg/L. Chlorination would be recommended at NWRWRF if the DCBM regulated limit increases to 57 μg/L. The recommended chlorine dose would be 9 mg/L for water temperatures around 16-23 °C and 12 mg/L for water temperatures around 30 °C