General Introduction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Natural organic matter (NOM) is a complex matrix of organic materials and a key component in aquatic environments. As a result of the interactions between the hydrologic cycle and the biosphere and geosphere, the water sources of drinking water generally contain NOM. The amount, character, and properties of NOM vary considerably according to the origins of the waters and depend on the biogeochemical cycles of their surrounding environments. Also, the interrelation between NOM and climate change has attracted a great deal of attention in recent research. NOM has a significant impact on many aspects of water treatment, including the performance of unit processes, necessity for and application of water treatment chemicals, and the biological stability of the water. As a result, NOM affects potable water quality as a carrier of metals and hydrophobic organic chemicals and by contributing to undesirable color, taste, and odor problems. Moreover, NOM has been found to be the major contributor to disinfection by-product (DBP) formation. Changes in NOM quantity and quality have a significant influence on the selection, design, and operation of water treatment processes. These changes also cause operational difficulties in water utilities. High seasonal variability and the trend toward elevated levels of NOM concentration pose challenges to water treatment facilities in terms of operational optimization and proper process control. To improve and optimize these processes, it is vital to characterize and quantify NOM at various stages during the purification and treatment process. It is also essential to be able to understand and predict the reactivity of NOM or its fractions during different phases of the treatment. Once the composition and quantity of NOM in the water source has been examined, suitable methods for efficient NOM removal can be applied. No single process alone can be used to treat NOM due to its high variability. The most common and economically feasible process available is coagulation and flocculation followed by sedimentation/flotation and filtration. Other treatment options for NOM removal include magnetic ion exchange resin (MIEX®) techniques, activated carbon filtration, membrane filtration methods, and advanced oxidation processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNatural Organic Matter in Water
Subtitle of host publicationCharacterization and Treatment Methods
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780128017197
ISBN (Print)9780128015032
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Characterization
  • Climate change
  • Coagulation
  • Drinking water
  • Natural organic matter (NOM)
  • Water analysis
  • Water treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering
  • General Environmental Science


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