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Water SA

On-line version ISSN 1816-7950
Print version ISSN 0378-4738


NONO, Denis; ODIRILE, Phillimon T; BASUPI, Innocent  and  PARIDA, Bhagabat P. Assessment of probable causes of chlorine decay in water distribution systems of Gaborone city, Botswana. Water SA [online]. 2019, vol.45, n.2, pp.190-198. ISSN 1816-7950.

Gaborone city water distribution system (GCWDS) is rapidly expanding and has been faced with the major problems of high water losses due to leakage, water shortages due to drought and inadequate chlorine residuals at remote areas of the network. This study investigated the probable causes of chlorine decay, due to pipe wall conditions and distribution system water quality in the GCWDS. An experimental approach, which applied a pipe-loop network model to estimate biofilm growth and chlorine reaction rate constants, was used to analyse pipe wall chlorine decay. Also, effects of key water quality parameters on chlorine decay were analysed. The water quality parameters considered were: natural organic matter (measured by total organic carbon, TOC; dissolved organic carbon, DOC; and ultraviolet absorbance at wavelength 254, UVA-254, as surrogates), inorganic compounds (iron and manganese) and heterotrophic plate count (HPC). Samples were collected from selected locations in the GCWDS for analysis of water quality parameters. The results of biofilm growth and chlorine reaction rate constants revealed that chlorine decay was higher in pipe walls than in the bulk of water in the GCWDS. The analysis of key water quality parameters revealed the presence of TOC, DOC and significant levels of organics (measured by UVA-254), which suggests that organic compounds contributed to chlorine decay in the GCWDS. However, low amounts of iron and manganese (< 0.3 mg/L) indicated that inorganic compounds may have had insignificant contributions to chlorine decay. The knowledge gained on chlorine decay would be useful for improving water treatment and network operating conditions so that appropriate chlorine residuals are maintained to protect the network from the risks of poor water quality that may occur due to the aforementioned problems.

Keywords : water distribution system; chlorine decay factors; bulk chlorine decay; pipe wall chlorine decay; water quality.

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