The formation of disinfection byproducts (DBPs) is a major challenge in drinking water treatments. This study explored the applicability of fluorescence excitation-emission matrices and parallel factor analysis (EEM-PARAFAC) for assessing the formation potentials (FPs) of trihalomethanes (THMs) and N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), and the treatability of THM and NDMA precursors in nine drinking water treatment plants. Two humic-like and one tryptophan-like components were identified for the samples using PARAFAC. The total THM FP (TTHM FP) correlated strongly with humic-like component C2 (r = 0.874), while NDMA FP showed a moderate and significant correlation with the tryptophan-like component C3 (r = 0.628). The reduction by conventional treatment was more effective for C2 than C3, and for TTHM FP than NDMA FP. The treatability of DOM and TTHM FP correlated negatively with the absorption spectral slope (S275-295) and biological index (BIX) of the raw water, but it correlated positively with humification index (HIX). Our results demonstrated that PARAFAC components were valuable for assessing DBPs FP in drinking water treatments, and also that the raw water quality could affect the treatment efficiency. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.