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Project ID: 14-1-06-19

Year: 2014

Date Started: 09/01/2014

Ending Date:  08/31/2018

Title: Forest fire alters disinfection byproduct precursor exports from forested watersheds

Project Proposal Abstract: Detritus material in forested watersheds is the major terrestrial source of dissolved organic matter (DOM) and disinfection byproduct (DBP) precursors in source waters. Carcinogenic DBPs, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), are formed when DOM reacts with disinfectants such as chlorine during drinking water treatment. Many studies have examined DBP precursor exported from forested watersheds; however, DOM leaching from pyrogenic organic matter, or dissolved black carbon (BC), could have different treatability and reactivity in DBP formation compared to the DOM leaching from unburned detritus layer. Also, fire intensity is an important factor governing the yields and speciation of BC produced during forest fire and eventually affects the quantity and quality of DOM exported from the watersheds. Here, we propose a three-year project involving controlled-field and watershed-monitoring studies to evaluate prescribed burning practices and landscape processes on the formation and exports of DBP precursors and dissolved BC from managed forested watersheds. Detritus materials will be collected from experimental plots with different burning schedules and frequency and will be incubated under field conditions. Water collected from different management practices at different times will be characterized and tested for their water treatability, including propensities in DBP formation and removal efficiencies in coagulation-flocculation processes. In addition, an unmanaged and a managed 1st order watershed at Santee Experimental Forest South Carolina have been monitored for DOM exports since 2003 and will be used to evaluate the landscape processes on the exports of DBP precursors and dissolved BC. With the results of the control study and field investigation, a box model describing productions and characteristics of DBP precursors in managed forested ecosystems under different fire practices will be developed.

Principal Investigator: Alex T. Chow

Agency/Organization: Clemson University

Branch or Dept: Department of Forestry & Natural Resources

Other Project Collaborators




Branch or Dept

Agreements Contact

Pamela D. Brown

Clemson University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Budget Contact

Pamela D. Brown

Clemson University

Office of Sponsored Programs

Co-Principal Investigator

Randy A. Dahlgren

University of California-Davis

Department of Land, Air and Water Resources

Co-Principal Investigator

Francisco J. Diaz

University of La Laguna

Department of Soil Science and Geology

Co-Principal Investigator

Carl C. Trettin

Forest Service

SRS-Santee Experimental Forest

Co-Principal Investigator

Geoff G. Wang

Clemson University

Department of Forestry & Natural Resources

Project Locations

Fire Science Exchange Network









Francis Marion National Forests




Private lands

Project Deliverables

There is no final report available for this project.
  ID Type Title
view or print   99 Book Chapters in Compiled Works Forest fire alters DOM and DBP precursors exports from forest watersheds - Part I. Lab Study
view or print   100 Book Chapters in Compiled Works Forest fire alters DOM and DBP precursors exports from forest watersheds - Part II. Field Study
view or print   3624 Journal Article Environmental Science & Technology
    7692 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Effects of prescribed fire on dissolved organic matter in coastal plain forested watersheds
    7693 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Impacts of wildfire on DOM and DBP precursors in forested watersheds
view or print   7694 Field Demonstration/Tour Research in forest fire and water quality
view or print   7695 Field Demonstration/Tour Impacts of prescribed fire on water quality
    7696 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Forest fire and water quality
    7697 Conference/Symposia/Workshop Colored dissolved organic matter as a precursor of disinfection byproduct in drinking water treatmen

Supporting Documents

There are no supporting documents available for this project.

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