Achieving safe free residual chlorination at point-of-use in emergencies: a modelling approach




Wu, Hongjian

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While free (breakpoint) chlorination is widely utilized in humanitarian water treatment, a main challenge limiting its effective application is in determining the initial dose to satisfy both health requirements and aesthetic considerations (i.e. taste and odour). International guidelines and studies showed varying recommendations for the initial chlorine dose and many did not consider chlorine decay during water transportation and storage for up to 24 hours. The main objective of this thesis is to develop a tool for humanitarian staff to accurately determine the initial chlorine dose for achieving free chlorine residual (FCR) objectives with the limited instrumentation and information in the field. The first manuscript included in the thesis gathered and evaluated seven basic chlorine decay models’ applicability in humanitarian treatment contexts. All seven models were found able to accurately describe chlorine decay in water representative of humanitarian treatment contexts with more than half of the regression resulted in R2 over 0.95. However, each model had its own limitations, which were discussed. The second manuscript involved conducting extensive chlorine decay tests in water with different characteristics, explored the relationships between the estimated chlorine decay constant and several water parameters including pH, turbidity, ultraviolet absorption at 254 nm wavelength (UVA254), temperature and 30-minute chlorine demand. It was found that the UVA254 of water followed linear and exponential relationships with the decay constant in Feben and Taras’s empirical model and that in the first order model respectively. Arrhenius-type relations were verified between the decay constant and water’s temperature. A model developed to predict FCR decay in water with known 30-minute chlorine demand accurately predicted FCR level in synthetic water (with humic acid being the main constituent) but underpredicted FCR decay in water with additional chlorine consuming matter. Further research on additional chlorine decay mechanisms are needed to expand the applicability of the model.



Chlorine decay, Natural organic matter, Temperature, Humanitarian emergency, WASH, Bucket chlorination, Modelling, Reaction kinetics