Water quality effects of intermittent water supply in Arraiján, Panama
Erickson, John J
Smith, Charlotte D
Nelson, Kara L.
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Intermittent drinking water supply is common in low- and middle-income countries throughout the world and can cause waterquality to degrade in the distribution system.In this study,we characterized waterquality in one study zone with continuous supply and three zoneswith intermittentsupply in the drinking waterdistribution network in Arraija!n,Panama.Low orzero pressuresoccurred in allzones,and negative pressuresoccurred in the continuouszone and two ofthe intermittentzones.Despite hydraulic conditions that created risks for backflow and contaminant intrusion, only four of 423 (0.9%) grab samplescollected atrandom timeswere positive fortotalcoliform bacteria and only one waspositive for E.coli.Only nine of 496 (1.8%) samples had turbidity >1.0 NTU and all samples had !0.2 mg/L free chlorine residual.In contrast,water quality was often degraded during the first-flush period (when supply first returned after an outage).Still, routine and first-flush water quality under intermittent supply was much better in Arraija!n than that reported in a previous study conducted in India.Better waterquality in Arraija!n could be due to betterwaterquality leaving the treatmentplant,shortersupply outages,highersupply pressures,a more consistentand higherchlorine residual,and fewercontaminant sourcesnearpipes.The resultsillustrate thatintermittentsupply and itseffectson waterquality can vary greatly between and within distribution networks.The study also demonstrated thatmonitoring techniques designed specifically for intermittentsupply,such as continuous pressure monitoring and sampling the firstflush,can detectwaterquality threats and degradation thatwould notlikely be detected with conventionalmonitoring.