Author(s): Tugulea AM, Brub D, Giddings M, Lemieux F, Hnatiw J, , Tugulea AM, Brub D, Giddings M, Lemieux F, Hnatiw J,
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Abstract Nano-silver is increasingly used in consumer products from washing machines and refrigerators to devices marketed for the disinfection of drinking water or recreational water. The nano-silver in these products may be released, ending up in surface water bodies which may be used as drinking water sources. Little information is available about the stability of the nano-silver in sources of drinking water, its fate during drinking water disinfection processes, and its interaction with disinfection agents and disinfection by-products (DBPs). This study aims to investigate the stability of nano-silver in drinking water sources and in the finished drinking water when chlorine and chloramines are used for disinfection and to observe changes in the composition of DBPs formed when nano-silver is present in the source water. A dispersion of nano-silver particles (10 nm; PVP-coated) was used to spike untreated Ottawa River water, treated Ottawa River water, organic-free water, and a groundwater at concentrations of 5 mg/L. The diluted dispersions were kept under stirred and non-stirred conditions for up to 9 months and analyzed weekly using UV absorption to assess the stability of the nano-silver particles. In a separate experiment, Ottawa River water containing nano-silver particles (at 0.1 and 1 mg/L concentration, respectively) was disinfected by adding sodium hypochlorite (a chlorinating agent) in sufficient amounts to maintain a free chlorine residual of approximately 0.4 mg/L after 24 h. The disinfected drinking water was then quenched with ascorbic acid and analyzed for 34 neutral DBPs (trihalomethanes, haloacetonitriles, haloacetaldehydes, 1,1 dichloro-2-propanone, 1,1,1 trichloro-2-propanone, chloropicrin, and cyanogen chloride). The results were compared to the profile of DBPs obtained under the same conditions in the absence of nano-silver and in the presence of an equivalent concentration of Ag(+) ions (as AgNO3). The stability of the nano-silver dispersions in untreated Ottawa River water, with a dissolved organic carbon concentration of 6 mg/L, was significantly higher than the stability of the nano-silver dispersions in distilled, organic-free water. Nano-silver particles suspended in the groundwater agglomerated and were quickly and quantitatively removed from the solution. Our data confirm previous observations that natural dissolved organic matter stabilizes nano-silver particles, while the high-ionic strength of groundwater appears to favor their agglomeration and precipitation. As expected, nano-silver was not stable in Ottawa River water through the chlorination process, but survived for many days when added to the Ottawa River water after treatment with chlorine or chloramines. Stirring appeared to have minimal effect on nano-silver stability in untreated and treated Ottawa River water. The profile of DBPs formed in the presence of nAg differed significantly from the profile of DBPs formed in the absence of nAg only at the 1 mg/L nAg concentration. The differences observed consisted mainly in reduced formation of some brominated DBPs and a small increase in the formation of cyanogen chloride. The reduced formation of brominated congeners may be explained by the decrease in available bromide due to the presence of Ag(+) ions. It should be noted that a concentration of 1 mg/L is significantly higher than nAg concentrations that would be expected to be present in surface waters, but these results could be significant for the disinfection of some wastewaters with comparably high nano-silver concentrations.
This article was published in Environ Sci Pollut Res Int
and referenced in Journal of Civil & Environmental Engineering