Risk-based framework for optimizing residual chlorine in large water distribution systems

Environ Monit Assess. 2017 Jul;189(7):307. doi: 10.1007/s10661-017-5989-0. Epub 2017 Jun 1.


Managing residual chlorine in large water distribution systems (WDS) to minimize human health risk is a daunting task. In this research, a novel risk-based framework is developed and implemented in a distribution network spanning over 64 km2 for supplying water to the city of Al-Khobar (Saudi Arabia) through 473-km-long water mains. The framework integrates the planning of linear assets (i.e., pipes) and placement of booster stations to optimize residual chlorine in the WDS. Failure mode and effect analysis are integrated with the fuzzy set theory to perform risk analysis. A vulnerability regarding the probability of failure of pipes is estimated from historical records of water main breaks. The consequence regarding residual chlorine availability has been associated with the exposed population depending on the land use characteristics (i.e., defined through zoning). EPANET simulations have been conducted to predict residual chlorine at each node of the network. A water quality index is used to assess the effectiveness of chlorine practice. Scenario analysis is also performed to evaluate the impact of changing locations and number of booster stations, and rehabilitation and/or replacement of vulnerable water mains. The results revealed that the proposed methodology could facilitate the utility managers to optimize residual chlorine effectively in large WDS.

Keywords: EPANET; Fuzzy-FMEA; Risk priority number (RPN); Water distribution system (WDS); Water quality index (WQI).

MeSH terms

  • Chlorine / analysis*
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Ions
  • Risk
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Water Purification / methods*
  • Water Quality
  • Water Supply*


  • Ions
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Chlorine