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27th of May 07
Gary Looney
Box 191 Wentworth rd
Menindee. NSW. 2879
To
I write to you too view my thoughts in the area of Riverbank Filtration.
This technology is used in areas through Europe and America for various reasons such as contaminant
removal, also lower costs and or maintenance. Added security against accidental surface water
contamination has also been a benefit and such things as Terrorism considered in this regard.
The experiences in Europe have shown RBF to be a reliable pre-treatment before disinfection.
Removal of natural organic matter and carbons can lower Alum and Chlorine requirements also
reducing sites for Bacteria, protozoa and algae, along with reducing disinfection by-product formation,
biological re-growth and possible cancer risk.
Water quality issues are going to persist in Australia, undoubtedly RBF may help in some areas. Of
interest is the balancing of chloride fluctuations seen on the Rhine River, convection mixing through
RBF is known to buffer fluctuations seen in the surface water that can take from days to months to
reach the well screens depending on the path and distance travelled. This compensation effect could
have benefit were salinity levels are fluctuating.
Another Interesting effect is the biologically active organic mat that can form on the infiltration
interface at the bed of the surface water source and help to degrade biological particles.
Knowledge in RBF may prove valuable in the future to maintain drinking water supplies.
There is also the question if RBF could reduce natural contaminant such as at Stevens Creek or the
interconnecting channel. If a suitable aquifer occurred at the Menindee supply pumping pit and
government funding was available a pilot project might be possible as the existing system is designed
for only around 14.5 L/S for the town supply.
RBF systems can be built in silt and clay layers of low permeability alluvial.
From a well horizontal screens are pushed through alluvial or unconsolidated aquifers beneath a river
or lake, carefully chosen sized gravel is packed around the screens.
Islands and the inside bends of rivers generally have higher infiltration rates.
To reduce river bed and screen clogging the system is sized to suit flow requirements with importance
in screen size placement and length.
Pit wells are also used for RBF usually constructed by/for individuals water supplies.
River Bank Filtration can be followed by processes such as ozonation and activated or powdered
carbon. Reduced filtration load after RBF can make Membrane filtration more viable, sometimes
resulting in reduced costs and maintenance.
Similar systems to RBF are also considered as a pre treatment to seawater RO.

This letter was originally sent to what is now Essential Water 27th of May 2007 in Broken Hill.

So to add a little more, I have lived here in Menindee for over 40 years seeing my first flood in 1976.
The property is a flood plain with cracks that open 6 inches wide and 6 foot deep, in one corner is a
clay pan that doesnt crack when dry or expanded when wet.
For those familiar with clay pans they are hard and absorb very little water, you might also notice
that the average river flood will often cover the clay pan with a shallow sheet of water.
Another aspect is during the drying period the clay soil of the flood plain shrinks away from the
interface where it meets the clay pan which has very little shrinkage.
This interface on the edge of clay pans is one of the ways low pressure flood or rain water can enter
the ground system.

I hope Christmas was good to you, all the best for 2015.
Gary Looney