Spread of Salt through a Looped Water Distribution System and an Alternative to Conventional System Flushing

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Saltwater intrusion in fresh water aquifers due to excessive groundwater pumping and sea-level rise has become a major concern mostly in coastal cities around the world. Subsequently, salt can be drawn to water distribution systems and can cause health problems if the amount is excessive. To document the time and location of unsafe levels of salt, system network modeling was performed here for a realistic looped water distribution system having 958 pipes, 874 junctions, one tank, and one ground water source. It was found that (1) the salt reaches the upstream portions quickly, (2) salt spread is sensitive to the conditions of outer junctions, and (3) salt level oscillates due to oscillating user demand. In addition, the optimal location of a flushing pond was examined as an alternative to conventional system flushing, where the flushing pond will capture the maximum amount of contaminated water possible. It was found that a flushing pond can reduce the amount of contaminated water discharged to the environment and the pond holding capacity is sensitive to its location.

Publisher's Statement

© 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers. Publisher’s version of record: https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784482971.038

Supporting Data

Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2020: Hydraulics, Waterways, and Water Distribution Systems Analysis - Selected Papers from the Proceedings of the World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2020