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Feb 18: CEAS Seminar—The role of nutrient levels and algae on DBP formation in Colorado watersheds: Implications for source water quality management

College of Engineering and Applied Science
Spring 2013 Seminar Series


Monday, February 18, 2013
11:15 a.m., NC 3212

“The role of nutrient levels and algae on DBP formation in Colorado watersheds:  Implications for source water quality management”

Fernando L. Rosario-Ortiz
Assistant Professor
Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering
University of Colorado, Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309


Drinking water utilities face the challenge of meeting advancing disinfection byproduct (DBP) regulations in order to provide safe drinking water to the public.  In addition to evolving treatment requirements, changes in source water quality are also occurring due to both anthropogenic and climatic influences.  The formation of DBPs from the reaction between dissolved organic matter (DOM) and chlorine depends on chemical properties of source water DOM.  The balance of DOM in water bodies is impacted by both terrestrial sources and autochthonous processes, including algal growth, which can alter the chemical reactivity of DOM. For water utilities that must meet stringent DBP regulations, a basic understanding of source water quality and how it relates to DBP precursor material is an important task. In this presentation, results from a study of utilities and reservoirs sampled throughout the state of Colorado during the summer and fall of 2010 will be discussed.  A total of 300 samples were collected and analyzed from 40 lakes and reservoirs, which were sampled multiple times at different depths. Results include correlations between lake characteristics, nutrients, Chlorophyll a, and DOM properties as they all relate to DBP formation. Overall, this research will aid in understanding the chain of source water quality relationships that correspond to DBP formation.


Dr. Fernando Rosario-Ortiz is an assistant professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Dr. Rosario received his BS and MS in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico and the California Institute of Technology. He received his doctoral degree from UCLA in environmental science and engineering. He spent four years at the Southern Nevada Water Authority, where he worked with projects related to advanced treatment and organic contaminants. In 2008 he joined the University of Colorado, Boulder. His current research focuses on advanced oxidation processes, characterization of organic matter in watersheds, formation of disinfection byproducts and the fate of organic contaminants in natural environments.

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