Data Analytics to Optimize Drinking Water Quality
Drinking water utilities must maintain water quality in the face of unexpected shocks to the system as well as planned upgrades with unintended consequences. Failure to do so can result in significant threats to public health: the city of Flint, Michigan, for instance, experienced a water quality crisis after making changes to source water chemistry and treatment processes without fully considering the consequences. It is vital, then, that water quality managers synthesize research, practical knowledge, and monitoring data to anticipate and address risks to water quality. This project would see the development of a comprehensive plan to protect drinking water quality, with a focus on regulated contaminants that represent priorities for Halifax Water. Our plan would build resiliency against anticipated process changes and unexpected treatment challenges. Utilities across Canada and beyond make small and large-scale process adjustments continually, and this will become increasingly common given the future demands of climate change and an increasingly stringent regulatory environment. The broader drinking water community will benefit from the outcomes of this research through a deeper understanding of how to plan for system changes that impact drinking water quality.