Water Quality Surveillance and Response Systems
         For Distribution System Monitoring and Management
What is a Water Quality Surveillance
and Response System?

A Water Quality Surveillance and Response System (SRS)
is a framework designed to support monitoring and
management of distribution system water quality. The
system is comprised of one or more components that
enhance a drinking water utility's capability to quickly detect
and respond to water quality incidents. Early warning and
effective response to an emerging water quality incident can
prevent it from becoming a more serious problem.

As illustrated in the figure below, the SRS components are
grouped into two operational phases: surveillance and
response. The surveillance components provide real-time
data on conditions throughout the distribution system and
include Online Water Quality Monitoring, Enhanced Security
Monitoring, Customer Complaint Surveillance  and Public
Health Surveillance. The response components provide
a framework for making response  decisions and include
Consequence Management and Sampling & Analysis.
What are the benefits of
implementing an SRS?

One application of an SRS is the detection of
infrequent water quality incidents, but the system
can also provide many benefits to routine utility
operations. Examples of specific benefits that can be
derived from SRS practices include:
 Improved understanding of the impact of
  distribution system operations and hydraulics on
  water quality
 Early warning of emerging water quality issues,
  such as low disinfectant levels, nitrification, taste
  & odor episodes and rusty water
 Ability to detect and respond to distribution
  system contamination incidents
 Enhanced security at water distribution facilities
 Stronger relationships with partner agencies, such
  as public health, law enforcement, emergency
  management and primacy agencies
 Improved customer service through timely
  response to customers' water quality concerns
                                                      Take corrective
                                                     action if necessary,
                                                    then resume routine

                                                      Can distribution
                                                    system contamination
                                                       be ruled out?
                                                      If unusual water
                                                     quality is detected,
                                                    an alert is generated
                                                      and investigated.

Online Water Quality Monitoring involves continuous
               monitoring of water quality parameters
               at strategic locations in the distribution
               system. Data from these monitoring stations
               is automatically transmitted to a central
               information management system and
               analyzed to detect unusual water quality
conditions. Measured water quality parameters include:
   Disinfectant residual
   Specific conductance and pH
   UV-Vis spectral absorbance

Customer Complaint Surveillance monitors customer
               calls to identify unusual trends in water
               quality complaints. Calls associated
               with an unusual trend are further
               investigated to determine if they are
               similar in nature and spatially clustered.
               Common datastreams include:
   Interactive Voice Response systems
   Work management systems
   Email and social media

Consequence Management consists of planning and
               procedures for responding to possible
               drinking water contamination incidents. It is
               operated in collaboration with a variety of
               local and state response partners, including
               law enforcement, public health and
               emergency response agencies. Its primary
functions are to:
   Establish the credibility of  a possible contamination
   Minimize public health and economic consequences
   Guide the remediation and recovery effort
Enhanced Security Monitoring involves the use of
               equipment and procedures to detect
               and respond to security breaches at
               distribution system facilities that are
               vulnerable to contamination. It is operated
               in collaboration with local law enforcement
               to ensure timely response to alerts from
security systems such as:
   Door and hatch contact switches
   Video monitoring systems
   Video analytics

Public Health Surveillance analyzes healthcare data in order
               to identify disease clusters that may be
               caused by contaminated drinking water.
               It is operated in collaboration with local
               public health partners to ensure timely
               detection of possible contamination
               incidents. Common datastreams include:
   Emergency department data
   Emergency medical services runs
   911 and poison control center calls

Sampling & Analysis involves the collection and analysis
               of water samples from the distribution
               system. It is activated through
               Consequence Management to further
               investigate possible contamination
               incidents and identify specific
               contaminants, if present. Its primary
functions are to:
   Perform field testing and sample collection
   Analyze samples for contaminants of concern
   Characterize the extent of contamination
  How can  a utility begin the process of implementing an SRS?

  Design of an SRS is flexible and can include any combination of the components described above. It should be locally
  tailored to meet the specific goals and objectives of your utility and leverage existing capabilities and procedures. Follow
  the simple steps below to begin the process.
   1. Determine the specific objectives your utility would like to achieve through SRS implementation.
   2. Assess existing capabilities at your utility and determine how they can be leveraged to design an SRS that meets
     these objectives.
   3. Visit the website below for guidance and tools you can use to design your utility's SRS and improve distribution
     system monitoring and management.
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For more information    	
Visit EPA's Water Quality Surveillance and Response website at
initiative.cfm, or contact us at
  Office of Water (4608T)
                                              EPA 817-F-14-021
                                     December 2014