Factors impacting the cost equivalency point for deploying strategically-located treatment units within a distributed optimal technology network (DOT-Net) to manage network-derived water quality degradation are defined and quantified. The cost equivalency point is essentially the ‘breakeven’ allowable cost for implementing DOT-Net strategy as an alternative to upgrading a central treatment facility to ‘pretreat’ water sufficiently to manage quality degradation within a potable water distribution network. For the purposes of the analysis presented, water quality is assumed to degrade linearly with time as it flows through the distribution network. Disinfection by-product (DBP) formation, selected as a representative water quality degradation parameter, was modeled to predict service population DBP exposure and resulting cost of centralized treatment plant upgrades to meet water quality goals. The equivalency point was determined by apportioning the anticipated cost for upgrading the centralized treatment facilities over the fraction of service connections receiving deficient quality water. Both concentration of DBP precursor material and service population size are found to have limited impact on the equivalency point of a distributed treatment unit. The advantages and disadvantages of various treatment methods available for in-network water treatment are outlined and the ancillary functional requirements of the distributed treatment unit are delineated.

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