Incidental treatment trains in urban rainwater harvesting systems

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February 9, 2015

IMG_0937This PhD thesis by Dr Anthony Spinks examined the water quality, incidental treatment train mechanisms and health risks of urban rainwater harvesting systems. It was an honour to be one of Anthony’s supervisors. In essence, this thesis argues that a series of incidentally occurring treatment trains contribute to the production of high quality freshwater from rainwater harvesting systems. Importantly, this thesis confirms and identifies the key behaviour of rainwater storages in recommending an appropriate guideline framework for greater utilisation of rainwater in urban areas.

Rainwater harvesting systems in urban areas have made a substantial contribution to water supply and stormwater management. Monitoring of rainwater systems has revealed significant spatial and temporal variation in rainwater quality, including stratification in storages. Rainwater quality declines immediately after rainfall and improves thereafter. The hypothesis that biofilms form on walls and at the bottom (as sludge) of storages to improve the quality of stored water is shown to be true. Domestic hot water services are demonstrated to also improve rainwater quality and a framework of guidelines is recommended for greater use of rainwater in urban areas.

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Dr Peter Coombes

Dr Coombes has spent more than 30 years dedicated to the development of systems understanding of the urban, rural and natural water cycles with a view to finding optimum solutions for the sustainable use of ecosystem services, provision of infrastructure and urban planning.

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