Removal of Coliform, Suspended Solids, UV254 and Colour Using Zeolite and Activated Carbon in Riverbank Filtration System

Document Type: Original Article


1 School of Civil Engineering, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia

2 Solid Waste Management Cluster, Science and Technology Research Centre, Engineering Campus, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia


River bank filtratio filtration (RBF) is one of the novel water abstraction alternatives to tackle poor water quality problem in Malaysia. This study was conducted to investigate the potential use of zeolite and activated carbon as filter media in the laboratory RBF system. Characteristics of the materials were first determined using the surface analyzer and X-ray fluorescence method. Filter column and filtration rate that resembles the RBF system at one of the rivers in Malaysia was designed and pre-determined. The removal performance of the total coliform in terms of the Most Probable Number (MPN), Escherichia coli, suspended solids (SS), UV254 representing the Natural Organic Matter (NOM), and colour was determined at 2 different configurations; Column A which consists of a mixture of zeolite and activated carbon, and Column B which has two distinctive layers of zeolite (bottom) and activated carbon (top). Results indicated that the filtration rate of 18.3cm3/min and retention time of 30 minutes had shown good removal performance for almost all the parameters. The removal of total coliform and E. coli were excellent with 95 and 99% reduction, respectively and 67 to 84% removal efficiency for SS. Column A performed better in removal of SS and colour whereas for Column B, performed better in removal of total coliform, E. coli, and UV254.