Study of Particle and Pathogen Removal During Bank Filtration of River Waters

EPA Grant Number: R829011
Title: Study of Particle and Pathogen Removal During Bank Filtration of River Waters
Investigators: Bouwer, Edward J. , Aboytes, Ramon , LeChevallier, Mark W. , O'Melia, Charles R. , Schwab, Kellogg J.
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: August 24, 2001 through August 23, 2004 (Extended to August 23, 2005)
Project Amount: $536,316
RFA: Drinking Water (2000) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Drinking Water , Water


Riverbank filtration (RBF) is a process that subjects river water to ground passage prior to its use as a drinking water supply. European experience with RBF (more than 25 years of literature) coupled with recent U.S experience (less than 5 years of literature) demonstrate that during infiltration and underground transport, processes such as filtration, sorption, and biodegradation produce significant improvements in raw water quality. Little is known about the extent to which RBF may serve to reliably remove Giardia, Cryptosporidium, and other pathogens (e.g., bacteria and viruses) from the river water. The objectives of this research are to:

(1) Evaluate the merits of bank filtration for removing/controlling pathogens.
(2) Establish the merits of using removal of particles and Clostridium as surrogates for pathogen removal.
(3) Quantify the removal mechanisms so that appropriate treatment credits can be established for pathogen removal in RBF systems.


The proposed research will consist of monitoring the performance of three different bank filtration systems along the Wabash, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers and involves a cooperative effort between the Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health (SPH), and the American Water Works Service Company (AWWSC). Samples of river waters and bank filtered waters will be tested for a suite of pathogens, Clostridium, particle counts, and inorganic species to establish trends in the performance of bank filtration in terms of particle and pathogen removal as a function of filtration distance, residence time, source water, aquifer characteristics, and season. In parallel, laboratory-scale river bottom sediment columns will be challenged with mixtures of pathogens and latex beads (well-defined particles) to study the behavior of the microbes relative to total particles and to quantify the removal processes.

Expected Results:

Increased applications of RBF are anticipated as drinking water utilities strive to meet increasingly stringent drinking water regulations, especially with regard to the provision of multiple barriers for protection against microbial pathogens (e.g., Giardia, Cryptosporidium), and with regard to anticipated tightening of regulations for disinfection by-products (DBPs), such as trihalomethanes (THMs), haloacetic acids, and bromate. The demonstration that bank filtration is an effective approach to remove pathogens will expand the treatment options available to water utilities. The results will provide guidance to states and water utilities on the appropriate treatment credit for pathogen removal during riverbank filtration and the possibility for using Clostridium and particle removal as indicator parameters.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 13 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

pumping, treatment, regulations, water quality, microorganisms., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Water, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Drinking Water, disinfection byproducts, ecological risk assessment, microbial contamination, monitoring, pathogens, clostridium, groundwater disinfection, river water , microbiological organisms, waterborne disease, water quality parameters, aquifer characteristics, exposure and effects, disinfection byproducts (DPBs), exposure, human exposure, treatment, drinking water distribution system, cryptosporidium , particle counts, microbial risk management, water quality, drinking water contaminants, Giardia, water treatment, drinking water treatment, human health risk

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report