The synergy of permeable pavements and geothermal heat pumps for stormwater treatment and reuse

K. Tota-Maharaj, M. Scholz*, T. Ahmed, C. French, E. Pagaling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of permeable pavement systems with integrated geothermal heat pumps for the treatment and recycling of urban runoff is novel and timely. This study assesses the efficiency of the combined technology for controlled indoor and uncontrolled outdoor experimental rigs. Water quality parameters such as biochemical oxygen demand, nutrients, total viable heterotrophic bacteria and total coliforms were tested before and after treatment in both rigs. The water borne bacterial community genomic deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) was analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification followed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and was further confirmed by DNA sequencing techniques. Despite the relatively high temperatures in the indirectly heated sub-base of the pavement, potentially pathogenic organisms such as Salmonella spp., Escherichia coli, faecal Streptococci and Legionella were not detected. Moreover, mean removal rates of 99% for biochemical oxygen demand, 97% for ammonia-nitrogen and 95% for orthophosphate-phosphates were recorded. This research also supports decision-makers in assessing public health risks based on qualitative molecular microbiological data associated with the recycling of treated urban runoff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1531
Number of pages15
JournalEnvironmental Technology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2010


  • geothermal heat pump
  • microbial diversity
  • pervious permeable pavements
  • urban runoff
  • water reuse


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