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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

David A. Reckhow

Subject Categories

Environmental Engineering


Disinfection byproducts (DBPs) are formed from the disinfectant (e.g., chlorine) reacting with components of natural organic matter (NOM) in water drawn from surface water supplies, and are considered as the cause of potential serious human health problems. DBP precursors originate in large reservoirs from at least three types of sources: (1) watershed or allochthonous, (2) algal or autochthonous, and (3) bottom sediments or benthic. The properties of the NOM and the DBP precursor content of that NOM are unique to each source. The first objective of this dissertation was to use temporal and spatial water quality data from a drinking water reservoir to shed light on autochthonous and benthic sources of NOM and DBP precursors. The second objective of this dissertation was to identify the seasonal variation and spatial fate of DBP precursors in a drinking water system located in a temperate environment where seasonal variations of surface water quality and water temperature are considerable. Organic matter released from plants is quite likely the most important fraction as potential DBP precursors, especially in heavily forested catchments. However, very few studies have been conducted on plant leachate as DBP precursors. The third objective of this dissertation was to characterize the organic matter that is released by plants, and examine their potentials to form DBPs under light, dark, and dark-with-biocide conditions. The final objective of this dissertation was to determine the comparative significance of DBP (i.e., trihalomethanes, dihaloacetic acids, and trihaloacetic acids) precursors released from profundal sediments of a water supply impoundment under aerobic, hypoxic, and anaerobic conditions.