Particle accumulation and circulation in water distribution systems are significant in the development of good management practices to protect against discoloration events, which are a major cause of water customer complaints. Quantifying the amount of particles deposited in water pipes is usually done by obtaining total suspended solid measurements while performing flushing sequences, which requires time, skills, and equipment. Some authors explored the possibility of rapidly approximating total suspended solids concentration (TSSC) in water pipes by measuring water turbidity on site, but they obtained different results and coefficients of correlation. This paper presents the results of tests performed in the laboratory on a test loop. Unidirectional flushing (UDF) and air scouring sequences were performed under various hydraulic conditions and two different particle origins. Samples were obtained along each sequence, and the turbidity and TSSC were measured. The results illustrate that the ratio between turbidity and TSSC may vary greatly between samples, up to 10 times during UDF sequences and 20 times during air scouring sequences. Particle origin, flushing method, and sampling time are all factors impacting the turbidity/TSSC ratio. This is why TSSC should not be estimated from a single turbidity reading.

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