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Managing potential pathogens in stored rainwater using small-scale in-situ electrochemical activation

Clayton, Gillian; Fox, Bethany; Steer, Mark; Thorn, Robin; Reynolds, Darren


Bethany Fox
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS - DAS

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Mark Steer
Associate Professor in Conservation Biology

Dr Robin Thorn
Director of Research and Enterprise


Rainwater can be a lifeline for many people who do not have piped water supplies, experience dry seasons, or live-in fresh water scarce areas. The quality of stored rainwater can deteriorate over time, due to increasing concentrations of contaminants. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of ECA time of a small-scale in-situ electrochemical cell at reducing naturally occurring microbial load within 100L rainwater storage tanks. Biological parameters were monitored throughout activation periods. ECA times of the 100L rainwater storage tanks were 8, 12 and 168 hours. All activation periods saw a significant reduction in total viable bacteria and total coliforms [TCs], in comparison to starting densities and control tanks (no treatment). This proof-of-concept study demonstrated that a small-scale in-situ ECA unit could mitigate preventable disease (e.g. diarrhoea) by improving stored rainwater quality through the reduction of indicator pathogenic species [e.g. TCs]. As an environmental scientist I have an interdisciplinary background, and my research interests include sustainable development through the development and implementation of fit-for-purpose decentralised technologies that can be used in the context of water, sanitation and hygiene.


Clayton, G., Fox, B., Steer, M., Thorn, R., & Reynolds, D. (2022, September). Managing potential pathogens in stored rainwater using small-scale in-situ electrochemical activation. Presented at International Water Association World Water Congress and Exhibition, Copenhagen

Presentation Conference Type Speech
Conference Name International Water Association World Water Congress and Exhibition
Conference Location Copenhagen
Start Date Sep 11, 2022
End Date Sep 15, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 6, 2022
Keywords pathogens, rainwater, electrochemical activation
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Additional Information This is also aligned with the Healthy Waters ERE Cluster