Modelling heavy metal contamination events in water distribution systems

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Certain soluble heavy metals are known to accumulate in the human body, resulting in (inter alia) toxicity to the kidney, liver, lungs, brain, heart and central nervous system. Water quality sensors can monitor small changes in water quality properties such as pH, TOC, turbidity, temperature, free chlorine concentration, and alkalinity. Heavy metals neither react with free chlorine nor consist of organic carbon; therefore, unless the solubility threshold is surpassed, the contaminant presence is distinguishable only by a change in the pH value. This characteristic makes the detection of heavy metal contamination events relatively tricky. In this work, a detailed aquatic chemistry multi-species model was developed within EPANET-MSX for the purpose of simulating the changes in water quality induced by cadmium contamination events. The model was applied on an example application network and the possible effects of various contamination events were explored.




Ohar, Z., Ostfeld, A., Lahav, O., & Birnhack, L. (2015). Modelling heavy metal contamination events in water distribution systems. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 119, pp. 328–336). Elsevier Ltd.

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