Understanding Effects of Intermittent Flow on Drinking Water Quality

Understanding Effects of Intermittent Flow on Drinking Water Quality
Andrew J. Whittle, Edmund K. Turner Professor in Civil Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Period of performance: 

September 2019 to August 2021
pipe, singapore, water supply, clean water, water contamination, technology, water quality, drinking water, underground pipes


Nearly 1 billion people worldwide receive their drinking water through underground pipes that only operate intermittently.  In contract to continuous water supplies, pipes like these that are filled with water during limited supply periods are vulnerable to contamination.   Further, it is challenging to quantify the quality of water that comes out of these pipes because of the vast differences in how the pipe networks are arranged and where they are located, especially in dense urban settings.  This research project seeks to improve the understanding of this water quality challenge by gathering and making available more precise data on how water quality changes depending on how the pipe is used, i.e. periods of filling, flushing, or stagnation.   Supported by the seed grant, the research team will perform tests in a section of abandoned pipe in Singapore, one that is still connected to the urban water pipe network there.   By controlling flushing rates, monitoring stagnation, and measuring contamination the study will analyze how variances in flow affect water quality, and evaluate how these data might be able to inform future water quality studies in cities with similar piped water challenges.