The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) regulates public water systems and has established limits for certain disinfection by products (DBPs) that have been linked to health effects, such as bladder cancer. The regulation of DBPs, specifically total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), have encouraged water treatment professionals to assess the type and amount of organic precursors in their supplies. Three of the more common water quality parameters that are monitored as DBP surrogates include dissolved organic carbon (DOC), ultraviolet absorbance (UV254), and specific ultraviolet absorbance (SUVA). Although DOC, UV254, and SUVA have been effectively correlated to DBP formation, efforts to correlate fluorescence excitation emission matrices (FEEM) to DBP formation remains limited within the drinking water community. In this research, a fluorescence regional integration (FRI) approach was used to compare FEEM with DOC, UV254, and SUVA as an alternative surrogate for characterizing TTHMs for groundwater sources located in south central Florida. To quantitatively evaluate FEEM, DOC, UV254, and SUVA as TTHM precursor surrogate parameters, a statistical correlation analysis was employed. Thirteen groundwater samples were collected from various Central Florida groundwater wells in Lake County, Polk County, and Palm Beach County, and analyzed for FEEM, DOC, UV254, and SUVA prior to determining the four-day TTHM concentration using a simulated distribution system dosing procedure. The FRI method was then used to quantify FEEM by dividing the three-dimensional matrix into five distinct regions, each representing a unique organic constituent. The volume under each region was determined and used for the correlation analysis. It was determined that a combinations of regions III and V of the FEEM possessed a strong linear correlation to four day TTHM content (R2 = 0.95) as compared to DOC (R2 = 0.906), UV254 (R2= 0.84), SUVA (R2 = 0.640), and the individual regions of the FEEM. However, DOC showed the strongest correlation when a second order polynomial regression was used (R2 = 0.937). Results for the individual regions of the FEEM revealed four day simulated TTHM correlation coefficients of 0.25, 0.62, 0.86, 0.74, and 0.88 for regions I through V respectively. These values indicated that a combination of regions III and V, which represent the fulvic and humic-like organic fractions detected by FEEM respectively, was the most accurate four day simulated TTHM precursor surrogate parameter based on the groundwater supplies tested. These results reveal that although DOC is still one of the strongest surrogate parameters to TTHM formation, fluorescence has also shown to also be a potentially strong surrogate for groundwaters. The implications of these results signify that fluorescence monitoring could be a viable method of measuring organic content in groundwaters once the technology further develops.


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Graduation Date





Duranceau, Steven


Master of Science in Environmental Engineering (M.S.Env.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering

Degree Program

Environmental Engineering









Release Date

June 2017

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)