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Water Science & Technology Vol 56 No 9 pp 21–28 © IWA Publishing 2007 doi:10.2166/wst.2007.738

An investigation of rainwater tanks quality and sediment dynamics

M.I. Magyar*, V.G. Mitchell*, A.R. Ladson* and C. Diaper**

*Monash University, Department of Civil Engineering, Building 60, Wellington Road, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia (E-mail: mirela.magyar@eng.monash.edu.au; grace.mitchell@eng.monash.edu.au; tony.ladson@eng.monash.edu.au)
**CSIRO Urban Water, Graham Road, Highett, VIC 3190, Australia (E-mail: clare.diaper@csiro.au)


Rainwater tanks are being introduced into urban areas in Australia to supplement centralised potable supply systems. A pilot scale tank study and a full-scale field tank study found that heavy metal concentrations in water samples taken from the tank's supply point can, in some cases, exceed levels recommended by guidelines. Both studies also found very high concentrations of heavy metals in the sediments accumulated at the base of rainwater tanks. Laboratory experiments are underway to investigate sediment transport processes within a full-scale tank. Preliminary results demonstrate the effect of sediment resuspension on the quality of water released from the tank outlet. Improved tank designs that reduce sediment resuspension and mitigate impacts on water quality are the focus of future work.

Keywords: Heavy metals; rainwater tanks; sediments

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