Drinking Water System Modeling to Allow for Rationale Placement of Microbiome Sensors
Life depends on clean, safe water. To meet this need in urban environments, water infrastructure was developed as a system of pipes and treatment processes to transport water and eliminate microbial and chemical contaminants. However, engineering challenges caused by accelerating urbanization, financial constraints, and aging infrastructure, suggest we cannot simply build more of the same. Rather, we need to focus on designing novel infrastructure monitoring and engineering controls, guided by a risk-benefit assessment framework that supports decision-making around urban water systems. Olson, Guikema, and Caverly are collaborating with a group of faculty that have been working towards developing a drinking water microbiome monitoring test bed in the City of Ann Arbor. This larger team is working on various aspects of the technology needed to make real-time microbiome monitoring in a full-scale drinking water system possible. An important step towards this effort is the rationale selection of appropriate sites for the placement of the real-time microbiome sensors. These sites should allow us to test the appropriate degree of microbiome variations over space and time (e.g., as a result of variations in water age, hydraulic pressure, water chemistry, pipe materials, etc.). We will use MCubed funding to recruit a postdoctoral researcher focused on this effort, which will include a variety of modeling approaches and close interaction with other researchers to contribute to the larger effort of building a drinking water microbiome monitoring test bed in the City of Ann Arbor.