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Assessment of water quality in distribution networks through the lens of disinfection by-product rules

Nilufar Islam, Rehan Sadiq, Manuel J Rodriguez, Christelle Legay


Disinfection with chlorine is a common practice to ensure secured drinking water, but results in  potentially harmful disinfection by-products (DBPs), when excess chlorination is done. The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has established Stage 1 and Stage 2 disinfection by-product Rules (DBP rules) to control DBP exposure. A modified version of the Canadian Council of Ministries of the Environment water quality index (CCME WQI) is used to assess water quality. CCME WQI is a  globally accepted index to assess water quality, but is too generic to be used for DBP rules. The study developed a scheme to make the index suitable for DBP rules. A scoring method based on an analytic  hierarchy process (AHP) is applied to assign weights based on DBP rules. A previously modified CCME WQI (Islam et al., 2014) is adapted along with the weights to perform the assessment at the distribution network (DN). A case study was performed on 7 sampling stations in a Québec City DN. The spatial water quality variations are presented using kriging – a geostatistical method, which identifies the regions with relatively poor water quality and highlights the potential locations for re-chlorination points. The proposed assessment formulation is flexible to handle situations with limited data, which makes it especially suited to smaller municipalities.

Keywords: CCME water quality index, Stage 1 DBP Rule, Stage 2 DBP Rule, chlorination
AJOL African Journals Online