The Perspective of Riverbank Filtration in China

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jiao Li, Yanguo Teng, Yuanzheng Zhai and Rui Zuo, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
Sustainable drinking water supply can affect the health of people, and the surrounding ecosystems. According to statistics of the monitoring program of drinking water sources in 309 at or above prefecture level of China in 2013, the major pollutants index were total phosphorus, ammonia and manganese in surface drinking water sources, respectively, iron, ammonia and manganese in groundwater drinking water sources, respectively. More than 150 drinking water emergency environmental accidents happened since 2006, 52 of these accidents led to the disruption of water supply in waterworks, and a population of over ten million were affected. It indicated that there is a potential risk for people’s health by the use of river water directly and it is necessary to require alternative techniques such as riverbank filtration for improving the drinking water quality. Riverbank filtration is an inexpensive natural process, not only smoothing out normal pollutant concentration found in surface water but also significantly reducing the risk from such emergency events as chemical spill into the river. Riverbank filtration technique has been used in many countries more than 100 years, including China. In China, in 1950s, the bank infiltration technique was first applied in northeast of China. Extensive bank infiltration application was conducted in 1980s, and more than 300 drinking water sources utilities bank infiltration established mainly near the Songhua River Basin, the Yellow River Basin, Haihe River Basin. However, the comparative lack of application and researches on riverbank filtration have formed critical scientific data gap in China. As the performance of riverbank filtration technique depend on not only the design and setting such as well type, pumping rate, but also the local hydrogeology and environmental properties. We recommend more riverbank filtration project and studies to be conducted to collect related significant environmental geology data in China. Additionally, the experience has demonstrated a number of water quality improvements associated with riverbank filtration. It is important to stress that the fate and behavior of emerging organic contaminants during riverbank filtration should be taken into special consideration.