Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Yehia Y. Hammad, Sc.D.

Committee Member

Stuart M. Brooks, M.D.

Committee Member

Robert J. Murphy, Ph.D., P.E.

Committee Member

Yiliang Zhu, Ph.D.


Sampling, Optimization, Drinking Water Protection, Vulnerability Assessment, Computer Modeling


The requirements to protect public water systems from intentional contamination have expanded in the years following September 11, 2001. The areal extent and non-linear nature of water demand and movement in the distribution system makes efficient location of sampling points difficult. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that contamination conceptually can occur at any point and at any time within the distribution system. Small to mid-sized water systems are especially at a disadvantage in addressing this issue due to limited resources available to them.

This paper proposes a heuristic methodology to identify strategic locations within the system that can be established as critical detection points for such occurrences. The process uses off-the-shelf software and is structured to be accessible to small and mid-sized water system managers. This methodology is different from others proposed in the literature in that it uses computer simulations to create a database of water system response to contamination at every node in the system. A process is developed to mine this database systematically after considering concentration thresholds and "time since injection" parameters. Finally, using pivot tables and graphs, a network of monitoring locations is identified to provide efficient coverage of the system under the conditions imposed.