The illicit connection of sewage pipes to stormwater pipes commonly occurs in urban stormwater systems. This brings problems that sewage might be directly discharges into natural water and even drinking water sources without treatment, posing risks to ecological safety. Sewage contains various unknown dissolved organic matter (DOM), which could react with disinfectants and lead to the formation of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Thus, understanding the impacts of illicit connections on downstream water quality is of significance. This study firstly investigated the characteristics of DOM using fluorescence spectroscopy and the formation of DBPs after chlorination in an urban stormwater drainage system in the case of illicit connections. The results found that the concentrations of dissolved organic carbon and dissolved organic nitrogen ranged from 2.6 to 14.9 mg/L and from 1.8 to 12.6 mg/L, respectively, with the highest levels occurring at the illicit connection points. Concerning DBP precursors, pipe illicit connections introduced considerable precursors of highly toxic haloacetaldehydes and haloacetonitriles into the stormwater pipes. Furthermore, illicit connections introduced more contents of tyrosine-like and tryptophan-like aromatic proteins, which may be related to foods, nutrients, personal care products, etc. in the untreated sewage. This indicated that the urban stormwater drainage system was a significant input source of DOM and DBP precursors to natural water. The results of this study are of great significance for protecting the security of water sources and promoting the sustainability of urban water environment.
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- Disinfection byproducts
- Dissolved organic matter
- Illicit connection
- Urban stormwater system