Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Brian Barkdoll

Committee Member 1

Melanie Kueber Watkins

Committee Member 2

Gordon Patterson


Emerging contaminants are a growing concern to humans and the environment. Studies have shown these contaminants are present in the environment through continuous release into surface waters from wastewater treatment effluent, manufacturing processes, and agricultural use. The effects of these contaminants have been observed in ecological studies, but they have not yet been well studied for long term exposure in humans. These emerging contaminants have also not been well studied to determine the rates at which they decay or how they move through distribution systems. This study aims to determine the importance of decay rate on concentration throughout a distribution system, as well as determine how the layout of a system effects concentration. Systems were modeled using EPANET 2 to determine the time to peak contamination for a clean system becoming contaminated, as well as a contaminated system being cleaned of contamination. It was found that only emerging contaminants with second order decay at the highest rate observed did not build up to high concentrations in the systems. The position of storage tanks in the distribution system effected the rate at which contaminants cleared the system, and systems with a branched layout could be cleared of contamination faster than systems containing loops. Further study is needed to determine the decay rates of these emerging contaminants, how to remove them during wastewater treatment processes, as well as their long-term effects on humans so that these contaminants can be effectively monitored and remediated.