Development of risk assessment tools for early detection of bio-contamination in water distribution systems

S. Tinelli, I. Juran, W. P. Cantos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Water distribution systems (WDSs) could be an easy target for accidental or intentional contamination in any city. The lack of reliable, real-time specific microbial and chemical contamination monitoring raises major public concerns as delayed detection accelerates the fast growth of the public health risk. In this context, the proposed research aims to develop, adapt and demonstrate the technical feasibility of smart Bio-Sensing and Information Management (Bio-SIM) that will effectively enable water operators to ensure smart water monitoring and quasi real-time quality control for early contamination detection and preemptive warning. Facing a lack of labeled data, numerical simulations with engineering models (EPANET-MSX) have been adopted to produce synthetic data for pattern recognition of the effect of bio-contamination on chemical and physical water parameters (e.g. pH, total organic carbon, turbidity and free chlorine). Statistical and stochastic models enabled non-specific bio-anomaly detection, based on pattern recognition of Chlorscan data and selected parameters that can be monitored simultaneously online using multi-parameter sensors (e.g. s::can). The results were compared with laboratory model tests and numerical simulations. This paper outlines the main results of the feasibility assessment of the Bio-SIM prototype system for early bio-contamination detection, which is expected to significantly contribute to alleviating consumers’ bio/chemical contamination risks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2151-2161
Number of pages11
JournalWater Supply
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2018


  • Chlorine decay
  • Risk assessment
  • Water distribution system
  • | bio-contamination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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