Vulnerability of bank filtration systems to climate change


Bank filtration (BF) is a well established and proven natural water treatment technology, where surface water is infiltrated to an aquifer through river or lake banks. Improvement of water quality is achieved by a series of chemical, biological and physical processes during subsurface passage. This paper aims at identifying climate sensitive factors affecting bank filtration performance and assesses their relevance based on hypothetical ‘drought’ and ‘flood’ climate scenarios. The climate sensitive factors influencing water quantity and quality also have influence on substance removal parameters such as redox conditions and travel time. Droughts are found to promote anaerobic conditions during bank filtration passage, while flood events can drastically shorten travel time and cause breakthrough of pathogens, metals, suspended solids, DOC and organic micropollutants. The study revealed that only BF systems comprising an oxic to anoxic redox sequence ensure maximum removal efficiency. The storage capacity of the banks and availability of two source waters renders BF for drinking water supply less vulnerable than surface water or groundwater abstraction alone. Overall, BF is vulnerable to climate change although anthropogenic impacts are at least as important.

Science of the Total Environment 409 (4): 1-9 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2010.11.002
Sprenger, C.
Sprenger, C.