Effective treatment of greywater via green wall biofiltration and electrochemical disinfection

Belal Bakheet, Veljko Prodanovic, Ana Deletic, David McCarthy

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Low energy and cost solutions are needed to combat raising water needs in urbanised areas and produce high quality recycled water. In this study, we investigated key processes that drive a unique greywater treatment train consisting of a passive green wall biofiltration system followed by disinfection using a Boron-doped diamond (BDD) electrode with a solid polymer electrolyte (SPE). In both systems, the treatment was performed without any additional chemicals and pollutants of concern were monitored for process evaluation. The green wall system removed over 90% of turbidity, apparent colour, chemical oxygen demand, total organic carbon, and biological oxygen demand, and 1 log of E. coli and total coliforms, mostly through biological processes. The green wall effluent met several proposed greywater reuse guidelines, except for E. coli and total coliform treatment (below 10 MPN/100 mL). Further disinfection of treated greywater (contained 28 mg/L Cl¯ and electrical conductivity (EC) of 181.3 µS/cm) by electrolysis at current density 25 mA/cm2 inactivated over 3.5 logs of both E. coli and total coliforms, in 10 – 15 min of electrolysis, resulting in recycled water with less than 2 MPN/100 mL. A synergistic effect between electrochemically-generated free chlorines and reactive oxygen species contributed to the inactivation process. Although the treated water contained diluted chloride and had low EC, estimated energy consumption was just 0.63 – 0.83 kWh/m3. This is the first study to show the effectiveness of a low energy and a low cost greywater treatment train that combines green urban infrastructure with BDD electrochemical treatment process with SPE, offering a reliable and an environmentally-friendly method for greywater reuse.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116228
Number of pages11
JournalWater Research
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2020


  • Boron-doped diamond electrode
  • Disinfection
  • E. coli
  • Electrochemical treatment
  • Passive treatment
  • Solid polymer electrolyte

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