Quality assessment of domestic harvested rainwater in the peri-urban region of Kleinmond, Western Cape and the optimisation of point-of-use treatment systems

Dobrowsky, Penelope Heather (2014-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Domestic rainwater harvesting (DRWH) refers to the collection and storage of rainwater for domestic purposes and in an effort to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MGD), the South African government has started an initiative where DRWH tanks are financed in sustainable housing schemes in an aim to provide an additional water source directly to households. Although many provinces, including parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal, have been using harvested rainwater as a potable water source, there are a limited number of studies indicating the quality of harvested rainwater in South Africa. However, many studies, internationally, have indicated that while the practice of harvesting rainwater is gaining popularity, rainwater quality is not within potable standards (Chapter 1). During the first phase of the study, rainwater samples were collected from the Kleinmond Housing Scheme (Western Cape, South Africa). From a cluster of 411 houses, the DRWH tanks connected to 29 houses were selected for monitoring the microbial and physico-chemical properties of harvested rainwater. Drinking water guidelines stipulated by SANS 241 (2005), DWAF (1996), ADWG (NHMRC and NRMMC, 2011) and WHO (2011) were used throughout the study to monitor the quality of rainwater. Eight sampling sessions were then conducted from March to August 2012, during a high and low rainfall period. Overall, the physico-chemical parameters of the rainwater samples were within the respective drinking water guidelines. However, the microbiological analysis verified results obtained in international studies, and showed that the indicator bacteria numbers present in the DRWH samples exceeded the stipulated guidelines (Chapter 2 and 3). Species specific primers were also used to routinely screen for the virulent genes, aggR, stx, eae and ipaH found in Enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), Enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) and Enteroinvasive E. coli (EIEC), respectively, in the rainwater samples. The virulent pathogenic E. coli genes were then detected in 3% (EPEC and EHEC) and 16% (EAEC) of the 80 rainwater samples collected routinely during the sampling period from ten DRWH tanks (Chapter 3). Bacterial isolates selected during the high rainfall period (June to August 2012), as well as PCR assays performed on total genomic DNA extraction from the rainwater samples, confirmed the presence of numerous pathogenic bacteria including Legionella spp. Klebsiella spp. and Shigella spp. Yersinia spp. were also isolated and detected for the first time in DRWH tanks (Chapter 4). Based on the results obtained in the first phase and as many studies have indicated the poor quality of rainwater, the second phase of the project was aimed at designing and monitoring point of use treatment systems. Three polyethylene DRWH tanks (2000 L) were installed at the Welgevallen Experimental farm, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Various treatment systems, such as activated carbon and slow sand filtration, solar pasteurization and a combined activated carbon/PVA nanofibre filtration column, were then intermittently connected to the three DRWH tanks during the high rainfall period (June to October 2013). Results for slow sand filtration and activated carbon filters indicated that the biological layer that had developed on the filtration media had not matured and for this reason chemical and microbial parameters were not reduced to within drinking water guidelines. A polyvinyl (alcohol) (PVA) nanofibre membrane without activated carbon in a column filtration system was analysed and results indicated that this system was also not effective in reducing the microbial numbers to within drinking water guidelines. Lastly, by utilising a PVA nanofibre membrane with activated carbon in a column filtration system, one litre of potable water was produced and all heterotrophic bacteria, E. coli and total coliform counts were reduced to zero and were within drinking water guidelines (Chapter 5). For the solar pasteurization system (Chapter 6), at treatment temperatures of greater than 72°C, all heterotrophic bacteria, E. coli and total coliforms were reduced to zero and were within drinking water guidelines. However, PCR assays confirmed the presence of Yersinia spp., Legionella spp., and Pseudomonas spp., at temperatures greater than 72°C. Results for chemical analysis also indicated all cations were within the international and national drinking water guidelines, with the exception of iron, aluminium, lead and nickel, which were detected in the pasteurized rainwater samples and were above the respective guidelines. It is hypothesised that these elements could have leached from the stainless steel storage tanks of the pasteurization system and it is therefore recommended that the storage tank of the pasteurization system be manufactured from an alternative material, such as a high grade polymeric material, which is able to withstand the high temperatures yet will not negatively influence the quality of harvested rainwater.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Reënwater versameling vir huishoudelike gebruik verwys na die versameling en berging van reënwater vir huishoudelike doeleindes. In 'n poging om die Millennium Ontwikkelingsdoelwitte (MOD) te bereik het die Suid-Afrikaanse regering ‘n inisiatief begin om finansiële bystand aan huishoudings te verleen vir die implementering van reënwater tenke, in ‘n poging om ‘n addisionele water bron direk aan huishoudings te verskaf. Hoewel baie provinsies, insluitend dele van die Oos-Kaap en KwaZulu-Natal, reënwater gebruik as ‘n drinkbare water bron, is daar 'n beperkte aantal studies beskikbaar oor die gehalte van versamelde reënwater in Suid-Afrika. Baie studies internasionaal het egter al aangedui dat, alhoewel die praktyk van die versameling van reënwater besig is om in gewildheid toe te neem, die kwaliteit van reënwater nie binne drinkbare standaarde is nie (Hoofstuk 1). Tydens die eerste fase van die studie is reënwater monsters geneem van die Kleinmond Behuisings Skema (Wes Kaap, Suid Afrika). Van ‘n kompleks van 411 huise, is reënwater tenke van 29 huise geselekteer vir die monitering van die mikrobiese en fisiese-chemiese eienskappe van versamelde reënwater. Drinkwater riglyne soos gestipuleer deur SANS 241 (2005), DWAF (1996), AWDG (NHMRC en NRMMC, 2011) en WHO (2011) was regdeur die studie gebruik om die kwaliteit van reënwater te monitor. Reënwater monsters is tydens agt geleenthede geneem vanaf Maart tot Augustus 2012, tydens die hoë en lae rëenval periode. Oor die algemeen was die fisiese-chemiese parameters van die reënwater monsters binne die onderskeie riglyne vir drinkwater. Mikrobiese analises het egter die resultate van internasionale studies bevestig en het aangedui dat die getal indikator bakterieë teenwoordig in the reënwater die gestipuleerde riglyne oorskry (Hoofstuk 2 en 3). Spesies spesifieke inleiers was gebruik om die virulensie gene aggR, stx, eae en ipaH, teenwoordig in onderskeidelik Entero-aggregatiewe E. coli (EAEC), Entero- hemorragiese E. coli (EHEC), Entero-patogeniese E. coli (EPEC) and Entero-indringende E. coli (EIEC), in die reënwater monsters op te spoor. Die virulente pathogeniese E. coli gene was in 3% (EPEC en EHEC) en 16% (EAEC) van die 80 reënwater monsters, geneem van 10 reënwater tenke tydens die studie, waargeneem (Hoofstuk 3). Bakteriese isolate geselekteer tydens die hoë reenval periode (Junie tot Augustus 2012), so wel as PKR (polymerase ketting reaksie) ontledings uitgevoer op genomiese DNS wat van die reënwater monsters ge-ekstraheer was, het die teenwoordingheid van verskeie patogeniese bakterieë, insluitend Legionella spp., Klebsiella spp. en Shigella spp., bevestig. Dit is ook die eerste keer wat Yersinia spp. in versamelde reënwater waargeneem is (Hoofstuk 4). Die doel van die tweede fase van die projek was om water behandeling sisteme by die punt van gebuik te ontwerp en te monitor aangesien die resultate wat gedurende die eerste fase verkry is, sowel as vele ander studies, aangedui het dat die kwaliteit van versamelde reënwater swak is. Drie poli-etileen reënwater tenke (2000 L) was geïnstalleer op die Welgevallen Eksperimentele plaas van die Universiteit van Stellenbosch, Suid Afrika. Verskeie water behandeling sisteme, soos geaktiveerde koolstof en stadige sand filters, sonkrag pasteurisasie en ‘n gekombineerde geaktiveerde koolstof/PVA nanovesel filtrasie kolom, was met tye gekonnekteer aan verskeie reënwater tenke gedurende die hoë reënval periode (Junie to Oktober 2013). Resultate van die stadige sand en geaktiveerde koolstof filters het aangedui die biologiese laag nog nie ver genoeg ontwikkeld het nie en daarom was die chemiese en mikrobiese parameters nie verminder to binne die riglyne vir drinkwater nie. ‘n Polyviniel (alkohol) nanovesel membraan sonder geaktiveerde koolstof binne ‘n kolom filtrasie sisteem, was geanaliseer en resultate het aangedui dat hierdie sisteem ook nie die mikrobiese getalle verminder het tot drinkwater standaarde nie. Laastens, deur gebruik te maak van ‘n PVA nanovesel membraan met geaktiveerde koolstof in ‘n kolom filtrasie sisteem, was een liter drinkbare water geproduseer met alle heterotrofiese bakterieë, E. coli en totale koliform getalle verminder tot nul en was binne die riglyne vir drinkwater (Hoofstuk 5). Vir die sonkrag pasteurisasie sisteem (Hoofstuk 6), by behandelings temperature van groter as 72°C, was alle heterotrofiese bakterieë, E. coli en totale koliform getalle verminder tot nul en was binne die riglyne vir drinkwater. Maar PKR ontledings het die teenwoordigheid van Yersinia spp., Legionella spp., en Pseudomonas spp. by temperature groter as 72°C bevestig. Resultate van die chemiese analises het ook aangedui dat alle katione binne die drinkwater riglyne was, met die uitsondering van yster, aluminium, lood en nikkel. Hierdie elemente was in die gepasteuriseerde reënwater monsters waargeneem met konsentrasies wat die onderskeie riglyne oorskry het. Dit word gehipoteseer dat hierdie elemente uit die vlekvrye staal van die bergings tenk van die pasteurisasie sisteem kon uitgeloog het. Daarom word dit aanbeveel dat die bergings tenk van die pasteurisasie sisteem geproduseer moet word van ‘n alternatiewe materiaal, soos ‘n hoë graad polimeriese material, wat hoë temperature kan weerstaan maar nie ‘n negatiewe invloed sal hê op die kwaliteit van versamelde reënwater nie.

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