Optimal layout of early warning detection stations for water distribution systems security

Avi Ostfeld, Elad Salomons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Deliberate contamination is generally viewed as the most serious potential terrorist threat to water systems. Chemical or biological agents could spread throughout a distribution system and result in sickness or death among the people drinking the water. Since September 11, 2001 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's water protection task force and regional offices have initiated massive actions to improve the security of the drinking water infrastructure. A methodology is presented for finding the optimal layout of an early warning detection system (EWDS). The detection system is comprised of a set of monitoring stations aimed at capturing deliberate external terrorist hazard intrusions through water distribution system nodes-sources, tanks, and consumers. The optimization considers extended period unsteady hydraulics and water quality conditions for a given defensive level of service to the public, defined as a maximum volume of polluted water exposure at a concentration higher than a minimum hazard level. Such a scheme provides an EWDS for a deliberate terrorist external hazard intrusion, as well as for accidental contamination entries under unsteady conditions-a problem that currently has not been solved. The methodology is cast in a genetic algorithm framework for integration with EPANET and is demonstrated through two example applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-385
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Water Resources Planning and Management - ASCE
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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