The Disinfection of Drinking Water in Trunk Water Mains

Rodney McDermott, Sandra Orr, Steven Sproule

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This study aimed to explore the disinfection of drinking water in trunk water mains, based on published conditions denoted within the Irish Republic. The variables within the study were consumer draw-off rates, trunk main length, pipe diameter, and water temperature. All these factors are known to impact the free chlorine residual in operational supply networks.

Based on published conditions obtained within the literature review, 60 hypothetical trunk mains were generated for this study. Of primary concern were the variables that affect the chlorine decay rate; total amount of chlorine decay; available amount of chlorine in the periphery of the trunk main; and the costs associated with effective chlorine disinfection of trunk mains. Based on the analysis performed, the following were the salient observations:

•Low consumer draw-off rates and increased trunk main length and diameter increased the risk of the free chlorine residual in the periphery of the trunk mains not complying with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) minimum recommended residual value of 0.1 mg/l (EPA Drinking Water Audit Report, 2014).
•Increasing the diameter of the trunk main from 125 mm to 180 mm had a negligible effect on the chlorine decay rate. However, increasing the trunk main diameter from 125 mm to 180 mm was shown to have a major impact on the total amount of chlorine decay and free chlorine residual available in the periphery of the main.
The key parameters that affected disinfection costs associated with trunk mains include length, diameter and the need for chlorine boosting.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1085
Number of pages1104
JournalJournal of Environmental Protection
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 5 Sept 2019


  • Disinfection of Water
  • Chlorine
  • Trunk Mains
  • Operational Expenditure


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