Riverbank filtration for control of microorganisms: Results from field monitoring

W. Joshua Weiss, Edward J. Bouwer, Ramon Aboytes, Mark W. LeChevallier, Charles R. O'Melia, Binh T. Le, Kellogg J. Schwab

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81 Scopus citations


Microbial monitoring was conducted over a period of more than 1 year at three full-scale riverbank filtration (RBF) facilities, located in the United States along the Ohio, Missouri, and Wabash Rivers. Results of this study demonstrated the potential for RBF to provide substantial reductions in microorganism concentrations relative to the raw water sources. Cryptosporidium and Giardia were detected occasionally in the river waters but never in any of the well waters. Average concentrations and log reductions of Cryptosporidium and Giardia could not be accurately determined due to the low and variable concentrations in the river waters and the lack of detectible concentrations in the well waters. Average concentrations of aerobic and anaerobic spore-forming bacteria, which have both been proposed as potential surrogates for the protozoans, were reduced at the three facilities by 0.8 to >3.1 logs and 0.4 to >4.9 logs, respectively. Average concentrations of male-specific and somatic bacteriophage were reduced by >2.1 logs and ≥3.2 logs, respectively. Total coliforms were rarely detected in the well waters, with 5.5 and 6.1 log reductions in average concentrations at the two wells at one of the sites relative to the river water. Average turbidity reductions upon RBF at the three sites were between 2.2 and 3.3 logs. Turbidity and microbial concentrations in the river waters generally tracked the river discharge; a similar relationship between the well water concentrations and river discharge was not observed, due to the low, relatively constant well water turbidities and lack of a significant number of detections of microorganisms in the well waters. Further research is needed to better understand the relationships among transport of pathogens (e.g., Cryptosporidium, Giardia, viruses) and potential surrogate parameters (including bacterial spores and bacteriophage) during RBF and the effects of water and sediment characteristics on removal efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1990-2001
Number of pages12
JournalWater Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Cryptosporidium
  • Drinking water
  • Filtration
  • Giardia
  • Microorganisms
  • Pumping
  • Riverbank
  • Surrogates
  • Wells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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