Abstract Pulsed voltammetry has been applied to drinking water monitoring. This non-selective technique facilitates detection of several different threats to the drinking water. A multivariate algorithm shows that anomaly detection is possible with a minimum of false alarms. Multivariate analysis can also be used to classify different types of substances added to the drinking water. Low concentrations of sewage water contaminating the drinking water can be detected. A network of such sensors is envisaged to facilitate real-time and on-line monitoring of drinking water distribution networks.