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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Management of unregulated disinfection by-products in water distribution networks : an integrated framework Mian, Haroon Rashid


Good water quality is essential for ecosystem health and human survival. Issues related to deteriorating water quality and its availability with sufficient quantity have become the grand environmental challenges of our times. In an urban environment, water is supplied to the consumers through water distribution networks (WDNs), designed to supply with adequate quantity with acceptable quality. The WDNs performance in terms of service delivery due to internal and external challenges cause water quality failure (WQFs) and can be linked to adverse human health effects. Microbial contamination and the formation of disinfection by-products (DBPs) are a few of the prominent WQF pathways. DBPs in drinking water and their exposure through ingestion and inhalation have been associated with cancer and non-cancer risks. There are numerous regulated and unregulated DBPs (UR-DBPs) present in public water supplies. Water utilities are now increasingly concerned about UR-DBPs because their occurrence has been consistently reported in drinking water supplies. Current research develops an integrated management framework to identify, prioritize, predict, and control the occurrence of UR-DBPs in WDNs. In this study, dichloroacetonitrile (DCAN), trichloropropanone (TCP), and trichloronitromethane (TCNM) were identified as commonly occurring UR-DBPs. The framework is implemented in four phases. Phase 1 identifies and prioritize the commonly occurring UR-DBPs; phase 2 estimates their levels in WDNs through predictive modeling approaches; phase 3 develops a water quality assessment approach to classify water quality and evaluate the impacts; phase 4 prioritizes management alternatives for UR-DBPs control using multi-criteria decision making. The results of this research have the potential to be used at different levels by utility managers, planners, and water purveyors to improve the drinking water quality management in terms of UR-DBPs. Furthermore, the decision-makers can identify and prioritize the UR-DBPs, predict their occurrence in WDNs, and evaluate the impacts of deteriorating drinking water quality on natural water resources. From the management perspective, the applicability of various management strategies in WDNs can be assessed under given settings and criteria. Thus, the water utilities can prioritize investment alternatives by identifying critical contaminants and acknowledging a trade-off between the delivered water quality and associated impacts.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International