Previous studies showed that significant bromate (BrO3-) can be formed via the CuO-catalyzed disproportionation of hypobromous acid (HOBr) pathway. In this study, the influence of CuO on the formation of BrO3- and halogenated disinfection byproducts (DBPs) (e.g., trihalomethanes, THMs and haloacetic acids, HAAs) during chlorination of six dissolved organic matter (DOM) isolates was investigated. Only in the presence of slow reacting DOM (from treated Colorado River water, i.e., CRW-BF-HPO), significant BrO3- formation is observed, which competes with bromination of DOM (i.e., THM and HAA formation). Reactions between HOBr and 12 model compounds in the presence of CuO indicates that CuO-catalyzed HOBr disproportionation is completely inhibited by fast reacting phenols, while it predominates in the presence of practically unreactive compounds (acetone, butanol, propionic, and butyric acids). In the presence of slow reacting di- and tri-carboxylic acids (oxalic, malonic, succinic, and citric acids), BrO3- formation varies, depending on its competition with bromoform and dibromoacetic acid formation (i.e., bromination pathway). The latter pathway can be enhanced by CuO due to the activation of HOBr. Therefore, increasing CuO dose (0-0.2 g L-1) in a reaction system containing chlorine, bromide, and CRW-BF-HPO enhances the formation of BrO3-, total THMs and HAAs. Factors including pH and initial reactant concentrations influence the DBP formation. These novel findings have implications for elevated DBP formation during transportation of chlorinated waters in copper-containing distribution systems.