Potable water quality for consumers can deteriorate for a number of reasons including inadequate treatment
or intrusion events. Intrusion events can be accidental as in the case of a break in a distribution system
pipe or deliberate as in the case of active bioterrorism. In addition, in water scarce regions of the country,
communities are now considering augmentation of potable water sources with reclaimed water. In all of these
examples, consumers must be protected from consumption of water which could be contaminated with chemical
or microbial pollutants. For potable water transported to the consumer via a distribution system, potential
contaminants must be monitored for via real-time or near- real-time sensors. For reclaimed water, additional
advanced treatment must be undertaken to remove potential contaminants prior to augmentation of potable
water sources, and again the treated water must be monitored through the use of sensors. The use of sensors to
monitor water necessitates proof of efficacy with respect to: sensitivity of detection; low rates of false positive
and negative alarms; and the ability to perform in a variety of waters that already contain microorganisms and
inorganic particulates. In this presentation, the use of sensors within the University of Arizona Real-Time Sensor
Lab are described, as well as strategies to ensure safe and secure drinking water for consumers.
Ian Pepper obtained his Ph.D. at the Ohio State University. He is currently a professor of environmental microbiology at The
University of Arizona where he also serves as co-director of the UA Water and Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center.
He has published over 170 peer review publications and 8 textbooks. Dr. Pepper is a Fellow of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (AAAS); the American Society for Microbiology; the Soil Science Society of America; and the American
Society of Agronomy.
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