01 November 2022
Occurrence of brominated disinfection by-products in thermal spas
Thermal spas are gaining more and more popularity among the population because they are used for recreational purposes. Disinfecting these baths without losing the health benefits poses a challenge for swimming pool operators. Previous studies have mainly focused on regulated chlorinated DBPs in freshwater pools with no bromide or seawater pools with very high bromide content. Thermal water pools have a low bromide content and in combination with chlorine can lead to chlorinated, brominated and mixed halogenated DBP species. The occurrence of brominated and mixed halogenated DBPs in these types of pools is largely unexplored, with very few or limited studies published on regulated DBPs and even fewer on emerging DBP classes. In the field of swimming pool water disinfection, apart from extensive studies in the field of drinking water disinfection, only a few studies are known in which >39 halogenated and 16 non-halogenated disinfection by-products, including regulated trihalomethanes (THM) and haloacetic acids (HAA), were investigated in swimming pool water. Calculated bromine incorporation factor (BIF) demonstrated that even small amounts of bromide in swimming pool water can lead to a large shift in DBP species towards brominated and mixed halogenated DBPs. Dihaloacetonitriles (DHANs) accounted for >50% of the calculated cytotoxicity and genotoxicity on average. Comparison of the target analysis with the TOX showed that a major part of the measured TOX (69% on average) could be explained by the regulated classes THMs, HAAs, and the unregulated class of HANs. This study aims to help operators of swimming pools with bromide-containing water to gain a better understanding of DBP formation in future monitoring and to fill the knowledge gap that has existed so far on the occurrence of DBPs in thermal water pools.