Practical Guidance, Real World Impact
It’s a delicate balance. Drinking water disinfection is one of the great public health
achievements of the 20th century, eliminating the scourges of water related disease
including typhoid and cholera in the United States; but, at the same time, treatment
chemicals that safeguard public health can also produce potentially harmful
The Water Research Foundation has been sponsoring research to help utilities measure
and control DBPs since the early 1980s, and we are leading the way in understanding new, emerging DBPs. In 1986, we
sponsored the research that discovered that THMs form during chlorination, providing some of the first practical guidance to
utility managers on DBP measurement and control.
During the early 1990s, we formed a council to advise the USEPA and other stakeholders about DBP rulemaking. We funded
over 21 projects through this council, including the study that found pregnancy loss was not correlated to DBP exposure.
Since the year 2000, we have funded numerous projects that examine nitrogenous DBPs (N-DBPs) and iodinated DBPs
(I-DBPs). Additionally, in partnership with the USEPA, we have conducted research on organic and inorganic nitrogen precursor
characteristics and water quality parameters that contribute to the formation of N-DBPs.
Clearly, interest in DBPs is growing. That’s why we devoted our first 2010 issue of Drinking Water Research to this topic. We
hope you find the research overviews instructive. We’ve also included six case studies that demonstrate how your peers are
treating water while minimizing DBP formation.
Our goal is to help you, our valued subscribers, achieve that delicate balance: managing risks and protecting public health.
David E. Rager
Chair, Board of Trustees
Robert C. Renner, P.E., D.E.E.