In the present study, three low-cost filter aggregate materials were tested and compared for organic matter and fecal coliform (FC) removal at the laboratory scale. Setups were subjected to synthetic wastewater at two hydraulic loading rates (HLR), i.e. 4 cm/day and 40 cm/day. The hydraulic retention time (HRT) at the two HLRs varied from 4 days to 12 h, respectively. The result obtained shows that the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5) removal efficiency of aggregate materials decreased with the increase in HLR. Both at high and low HLR, the terracotta aggregate material exhibited maximum BOD5 loading removal and without significant difference for the case of FC removal efficiency for all the three aggregate materials. At higher HLR, cell debris and biofilm loss from the aggregate material contributed to the chemical oxygen demand (COD) levels in the treated water. The terracotta aggregate material provided best organic matter removal at both HLRs. The study demonstrates the potential of incorporating inexpensive and readily available local materials into decentralized, frugal green infrastructure interventions capable of lowering the quantum of harmful biological contaminants in open storm water channels in rapidly urbanizing cities of developing countries, and that the terracotta aggregate material provided best organic removal at both HLRs.

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