Controlled laboratory chlorination of acetaldehyde (ACD) under typical drinking water conditions (pH 6.7, 7.6 and 8.8, and temperature 4 degrees C and 21 degrees C) revealed that the formation of chloral hydrate (CH), the most common halogenated acetaldehyde (HAs), increased with contact time (0-10 days). However, at increased pH and temperature, CH reached maximum levels and subsequently broke down partially to chloroform and other unidentified compounds. After 10 days contact time, a maximum of 63% (molar) of the initial ACD consumed were converted into CH or chloroform (TCM). Various surveys of drinking water systems indicated that ACD is not the only precursor of CH. A suite of aldehydes (including ACD), and chlorinated disinfection by-products (including TCM and CH) were found in most distribution systems. The levels of bromide in source water impacted speciation of HAs. In addition to CH, brominated and other mixed (Cl/Br) acetaldehydes were detected in most samples; the speciation of HAs and THMs followed comparable trends. Similar to chloroform for trihalomethanes, CH contributed from as low as 5% to up to 60% of the total HAs. The bromine incorporation factors (BIF) in THMs and HAs were shown to increase with increasing bromide ion concentrations in the source water. Brominated THMs are more readily formed than their HA analogues; in fact, BIF values for THMs were 2-3 times higher than for the HAs. It was found that HAs may be as high as THMs in some drinking waters. As a result, the determination of the other target HAs, in addition to CH, is necessary for a better assessment of the pool of disinfection by-products in drinking water.