A dynamic thresholds scheme for contaminant event detection in water distribution systems

Jonathan Arad, Mashor Housh, Lina Perelman, Avi Ostfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, a dynamic thresholds scheme is developed and demonstrated for contamination event detection in water distribution systems. The developed methodology is based on a recently published article of the authors (Perelman et al., 2012). Event detection in water supply systems is aimed at disclosing abnormal hydraulic or water quality events by exploring the time series behavior of routine hydraulic (e.g., flow, pressure) and water quality measurements (e.g., residual chlorine, pH, turbidity). While event detection raises alerts to the possibility of an event occurrence, it does not relate to origins, thus an event may be hydraulically-driven, as a consequence of problems like sudden leakages or pump/pipe malfunctions. Most events, however, are related to deliberate, accidental, or natural contamination intrusions. The developed methodology herein is based on off-line and on-line stages. During the off-line stage, a genetic algorithm (GA) is utilized for tuning five decision variables: positive and negative filters, positive and negative dynamic thresholds, and window size. During the on-line stage, a recursively Bayes' rule is invoked, employing the five decision variables, for real time on-line event detection. Using the same database, the proposed methodology is compared to Perelman et al. (2012), showing considerably improved detection ability. Metadata and the computer code are provided as Supplementary material.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1899-1908
Number of pages10
JournalWater Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Technion Funds for Security research, and by the Technion – RWTH Aachen Umbrella Cooperation .


  • Bayesian analysis
  • Dynamic thresholds
  • Event detection
  • Water distribution systems
  • Water quality
  • Water security

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'A dynamic thresholds scheme for contaminant event detection in water distribution systems'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this