Biofilters as effective pathogen barriers for greywater reuse

J. Jung, H. Fowdar, R. Henry, A. Deletic, D. T. McCarthy

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Greywater is an alternative water resource, having many favourable characteristics over stormwater or wastewater. In particular, it can be supplied consistently and generated close to desirable end-use applications. Although greywater is considered to contain a low level of contamination, treatment is still required before the end-use, and passive filtration such as biofiltration became a popular option due to its low maintenance and low energy consumption. To this end, a laboratory experiment was conducted with synthetic greywater over 12 months to test the influence of operational characteristics and design factors on pathogen removal from greywater. The role of plants types, saturated zone, and the absence/inclusion of antimicrobial material were tested in a total of 80 biofilter columns. The results showed that the biofilters obtained a median E. coli logarithmic removal of 3.0 across the tested configurations and produced quality of water that meets indoor non-potable use standard (NRMMC, 2006). Further, the infiltration rate and event size were found to significantly influence E. coli removal in greywater biofilters (ANOVA, p < 0.05). The presence of antimicrobial media also significantly improved E. coli removal (up to 1.4 log) compared to non-amended media (ANOVA, p < 0.05). Vegetation also played a significant role in removing E. coli (ANOVA < 0.05). This study successfully suggested the great potential for the application of biofilters to greywater treatment and identified key design factors for consideration prior to implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Antimicrobial media
  • Biofilter
  • Copper-coated zeolite
  • Graywater
  • Greywater
  • Pathogen
  • Saturated zone
  • Vegetation

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