International journal of hygiene and environmental health

Disinfection aboard cruise liners and naval units: formation of disinfection by-products using chlorine dioxide in different qualities of drinking water.

PMID 21900043


The world-wide deployment of cruise liners and naval units has caused an increased need for the disinfection of drinking water. The main cause for this is the unknown quality of drinking water in foreign harbours--besides the formation of bio-films due to the climatically disadvantageous conditions in the operational area. Water conduits on board are currently disinfected with calcium hypochlorite in case of microbiological contamination. Chemical and physical analyses after disinfection with calcium hypochlorite have shown that organic by-products consisting of trihalomethanes develop in considerable amounts during disinfection. Furthermore, the method is susceptible to handling errors and thus often leads to insufficient disinfection results. Hitherto, the use of other disinfection methods allowed by government regulations, especially chlorine dioxide, is not widely spread. Unlike disinfection with calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide does not lead to the formation of trihalomethanes. Typical disinfection by-products (DBP) are the anions chlorite and chlorate, which are formed in oxidative processes. The formation conditions of these anions have not yet been elucidated. For this reason, the probability of the generation of inorganic by-products after disinfection with chlorine dioxide has been determined, and their occurrence in drinking water on board has been examined with respect to a possible correlation between water quality and the formation of chlorate and chlorite. Therefore, a chromatographic method was developed and validated in order to determine the periodical development of chlorate and chlorite from chorine dioxide in purified water at different pH-values as well as in actual drinking water samples from water conduits on board. The formation of the by-products chlorite and chlorate after disinfection with chlorine dioxide is influenced neither by pH-value nor by chemical properties of the disinfected water. Considering the examined conditions, chlorine dioxide is suitable for usage on board due to its simple handling and the low potential of producing by-products.

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Calcium hypochlorite, technical grade