Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. L. Sebastian Bryson


Water distribution systems are vulnerable to intentional, along with accidental, contamination of the water supply. Contamination warning systems (CWS) are strategies to lessen the effects of contamination by delivering early indication of an event. Online quality monitoring, a network of sensors that can assess water quality and alert an operator of contamination, is a critical component of CWS, but utilities are faced with the decision of what locations are optimal for deployment of sensors. A sensor placement algorithm was developed and implemented in a commercial network distribution model (i.e. KYPIPE) to aid small utilities in sensor placement. The developed sensor placement tool was then validated using 12 small distribution system models and multiple contamination scenarios for the placement of one and two sensors.

This thesis also addresses the issue that many sensor placement algorithms require calibrated hydraulic/water quality models, but small utilities do not always possess the financial resources or expertise to build calibrated models. Because of such limitations, a simple procedure is proposed to recommend optimal placement of a sensor without the need for a model or complicated algorithm. The procedure uses simple information about the geometry of the system and does not require explicit information about flow dynamics.