A. Aisopou, I. Stoianov, and N.J. Graham. In-pipe water quality monitoring in water supply systems under steady and unsteady state flow conditions: A quantitative assessment. Water Research 2011 Nov 6.
Monitoring the quality of drinking water from the treatment plant to the consumers tap is critical to ensure compliance with national standards and/or WHO guideline levels. There are a number of processes and factors affecting the water quality during transmission and distribution which are little understood. A significant obstacle for gaining a detailed knowledge of various physical and chemical processes and the effect of the hydraulic conditions on the water quality deterioration within water supply systems is the lack of reliable and low-cost (both capital and O & M) water quality sensors for continuous monitoring. This paper has two objectives. The first one is to present a detailed evaluation of the performance of a novel in-pipe multi-parameter sensor probe for reagent- and membrane-free continuous water quality monitoring in water supply systems. The second objective is to describe the results from experimental research which was conducted to acquire continuous water quality and high-frequency hydraulic data for the quantitative assessment of the water quality changes occurring under steady and unsteady-state flow conditions. The laboratory and field evaluation of the multi-parameter sensor probe showed that the sensors have a rapid dynamic response, average repeatability and unreliable accuracy. The uncertainties in the sensor data present significant challenges for the analysis and interpretation of the acquired data and their use for water quality modelling, decision support and control in operational systems. Notwithstanding these uncertainties, the unique data sets acquired from transmission and distribution systems demonstrated the deleterious effect of unsteady state flow conditions on various water quality parameters. These studies demonstrate: (i) the significant impact of the unsteady-state hydraulic conditions on the disinfectant residual, turbidity and colour caused by the re-suspension of sediments, scouring of biofilms and tubercles from the pipe and increased mixing, and the need for further experimental research to investigate these interactions; (ii) important advances in sensor technologies which provide unique opportunities to study both the dynamic hydraulic conditions and water quality changes in operational systems. The research in these two areas is critical to better understand and manage the water quality deterioration in ageing water transmission and distribution systems.