Investigating TriHaloMethanes with respect to humidity

Morris, A. K. R.; Parris, R.; Sheridan, S.; Ringrose, T.; Wright, I. P. and Morgan, G. H. (2009). Investigating TriHaloMethanes with respect to humidity. In: The 18th Annual Conference on Ion Mobility Spectrometry, 25-31 Jul 2009, Thun, Switzerland, Authors.


The disinfection of potable water has dramatically reduced the instances of Cholera and similar ailments within a population drawing upon that water source. There is however the possibility that Natural Organic Matter (NOM) can interact with the disinfection compounds to form Disinfection By-Products (DBP). One group of DBPs are Trihalomethanes (THMs) with several compounds of the group being suspected carcinogens. Within the UK the total concentration of all THMs within drinking water must not exceed 100µg/l.

At present water authorities take samples of the water supply and return them to a central laboratory for analysis. This provides an accurate test but one which can involve a long lead time in discovering a potential hazard to public health.

A Field Asymmetric Ion Mobility Spectrometer (FAIMS) sensor may be ideally placed to perform in situ continuous monitoring at particular sites. As part of a PhD co-sponsored by The Open University and Owlstone Nanotech Plc an investigation is ongoing to discover how sensitive a FAIMS device is with respect to THMs and humidity when sampling. Initial results and the method of data processing, which involves peak fitting to evolving spectra are presented.

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