Emily Kumpel

Publication Date

Spring 2021


Intermittent water supply (IWS) is defined as a piped drinking water distribution system that operates for less than 24 hours per day. Water quality is found to be negatively impacted in IWS, which creates a human health risk. There are still may gaps in our understanding of pathways of contamination in IWS, which has been a limitation in creating appropriate solutions to maintain water quality in IWS systems. To characterize these pathways, we ran a study to investigate the impact of intermittency on water quality, biofilms, and water pressure in IWS, which consisted of constructing two identical model drinking water distribution systems. One was operated as an IWS and the other a continuous water supply(CWS),as a control. Water samples were taken for water quality analysis, biofilms were sampled, and pressure was monitored continuously in these systems. Key finding included a significant decrease in chlorine residual and increases in turbidity, TOC, and microbial concentration as in the water that was first flushed through the IWS pipeloop. However, IWS water quality parameters matched those is the CWS pipeloop or were better over the course of an IWS supply period. This implies the need for management of flush water in IWS systems. In addition, the biofilms in the IWS pipeloop before a supply period were found to have a larger spread than those after a supply period. Lastly, negative pressures were found in the IWS system. These results have implications for future research and IWS operation.