Events Calendar

Desmond Lawler Lecture Series

Thursday, October 6, 2022
3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Mulva Auditorium, EER

Location: Reception to follow in the Mulva Foyer

Please join us for our first annual Desmond Lawler Lecture! Sponsored by the Desmond and Alice Lawler Endowment.

Dr. David Reckhow, U. of Massachusetts
New Challenges Posed by Toxic Organic Compounds in Drinking Water"

Changes in climate, land use, and consumer products have placed us on a collision course with many new drinking water regulations.  These new regulations are spawned in part by improved methods for assessing health risks.  

One such collision concerns halogenated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) and their precursors.  DBP formation is heavily dependent on raw water quality.  As the frequency and intensity of storms change so does the concentration and character of dissolved natural organic matter (NOM), a major source of DBP precursors.  Coupling this with changing nutrients and sunlight, invariably leads to differences in algal contributions to NOM in raw drinking waters.  Domestic products and related anthropogenic chemicals further complicate the picture, especially in waters receiving wastewater effluent.

Conventional and advanced water treatment can mitigate some of the adverse effects of changing raw water quality.  However, selecting the best treatment may be complicated since not all human health risks rise and fall in unison.  Models considering relatively toxicity of DBPs may turn out to be a necessary tool for selecting best plant design and operation.

In this talk I will discuss our current understanding of the DBP problem and how the water industry needs to re-examine its approach in light of this new knowledge.