Spread of salt through municipal water distribution systems

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering


Since many water systems in developing countries experience saltwater intrusion from sea-water, system behavior during saltwater intrusion is important. System network modeling was performed here to document the spread of salt for four realistic water systems. It was found that (1) pump status at the time of salt injection is significant, (2) if salt enters as a short pulse, it may contaminate different parts at different times, (3) systems with the source directly connected to the tank may contribute to slower spread of the salt, (4) the maximum concentration of salt might not reach everywhere in the system, (5) in a multi-reservoir system, if any reservoir remains fresh during a salt contamination event, contamination might take a longer time to reach the system edges, and (6) for all system types, the time to clear the system from salt contamination is linearly correlated to the rate of salt entry at the source.

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Environment, Development and Sustainability