Sustainable reuse of urban stormwater is inevitable in the fight against water crises in arid regions. This research aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of a low-cost ceramic filtration process for reuse applications of urban stormwater. Stormwater was collected from a storage pond located in Buraydah (Qassim, Saudi Arabia) for laboratory experiments. The filtration tests were performed in a continuous mode with constant pressure using a low-cost ceramic filter made of clay soil and rice bran. The removal rates of the contaminants (heavy metals) as well as the turbidity, suspended solids, and nutrients of the stormwater were assessed. High removal efficiencies for turbidity (97.4%), suspended solids (97.0%), BOD5
(78.4%), and COD (76.1%) were achieved while low removals were achieved for the nutrients: 19.7% for total nitrogen, 25.3% for nitrate, and 8.6% for phosphate. Removal efficiencies ranged between 36.2% and 99.9% for the heavy metals, i.e., iron, manganese, lead, zinc, nickel, copper, cadmium, selenium, and barium. Contaminant removal rates observed for the ceramic filter were also compared with the alum coagulation process operated in a continuous mode at an optimum alum dose of 50 mg/L. Similar removal behaviors for removal of turbidity, suspended solids, organics, nutrients, and heavy metals suggested that both ceramic filtration and alum coagulation can be effectively used for stormwater treatment. Effluent qualities of both the ceramic filter and alum coagulation met the standards, for recycling/reuse of wastewater, set by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and World Health Organization for unrestricted irrigation and toilet flushing. The study results revealed that ceramic filtration is a low-cost, energy efficient, and easy to maintain technology which can be complimentary to best management practices for stormwater.
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