Research proposal abstract

I earned doctoral candidacy in April, 2004. Professor Walter J. Weber, Jr., is my committee chair.


Current potable water systems treat water at centralized treatment facilities and then distribute the water through networks to end users. The problem with the centralized treatment model is that considerable water quality contamination can occur within the pipelines of the water distribution system from sources such as bacteriological contamination and disinfectant by-product (DBP) formation. The proposed research effort will concentrate on the problem of removing DBPs from the water used for human consumption due to the known human health risks and pending legislation regarding these compounds.

There are two potential methods of DBP management: treatment of the DBP after formation within the network or removal of the DBP precursors at the centralized treatment facility before DBP formation can occur. There is no clear consensus on which method is most appropriate with regards to cost, feasibility, human health, or other criteria. Further, until now, there has been no research which has investigated the system-wide implementation of distributed treatment technologies to achieve water quality goals,

This research will focus on using distributed treatment units to provide advanced water treatment at optimal locations within a water distribution network. The overall strategy to be employed in the work proposed will follow the distributed optimal technology network (DOT-NET) approach proposed by Weber (2002), a strategy focusing on the innovative placement of advanced technologies for achieving premium potable quality at or near points of direct human consumption. Benefits from the DOT-NET approach include current and future treatment flexibility, resistance to catastrophic terrorist-induced or natural sources of contamination, decreased environmental footprint, and potential savings from otherwise necessary capital improvements.