Online monitoring dissolved organic matter (DOM) is urgent for water treatment management. In this study, high performance size exclusion chromatography with multi-UV absorbance and multi-emission fluorescence scans were applied to spectrally characterize samples from 16 drinking water sources across Yangzi River and Huai River Watersheds. The UV absorbance indices at 254 nm and 280 nm referred to the same DOM components and concentration, and the 280 nm UV light could excite both protein-like and humic-like fluorescence. Hence a novel UV fluorescence sensor was developed out using only one UV280 light-emitting diode (LED) as light source. For all samples, enhanced coagulation was mainly effective for large molecular weight biopolymers; while anion exchange further substantially removed humic substances. During chlorination tests, UVA280 and UVA254 showed similar correlations with yields of disinfection byproducts (DBPs); the humic-like fluorescence obtained from LED sensors correlated well with both trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids yields, while the correlation between protein-like fluorescence and trihalomethanes was relatively poor. Anion exchange exhibited more reduction of DBPs yields as well as UV absorbance and fluorescence signals than enhanced coagulation. The results suggest that the LED UV fluorescence sensors are very promising for online monitoring DOM and predicting DBPs formation potential during water treatment.