Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Civil and Environmental Engineering

Degree Program

Civil Engineering, PhD

Committee Chair

French, Mark N.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Bhaskar, Nageshwar

Committee Member

Rockaway, Thomas

Committee Member

Depuy, Gail

Committee Member

Willing, Gerold


Drinking water--Purification; Water--Purification; Water quality management


Community engagement through environmental education for the public is an important component in the link between individual citizens, their community, and local government agencies responsible for maintaining urban recreation and park areas. Streams and waterways passing through urban areas are often misunderstood by the public in terms of whether the waterway is natural, constructed, or a combination of both. Additionally, aspects of water quality or water pollution are often obscure to the community and there are limited means to provide direct information to the public. In any case, the public are often drawn to interact with urban streams through recreation activities or through environmental education interest. It is with this concept in mind that this project was formulated and realized through collaboration between the Louisville Metro Government Metro-Council, the local water supply utility Louisville Water Company (LWC), the local stormwater and sewerage agency Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD), and the University of Louisville (UL), Kentucky Institute for the Environment and Sustainable Development (KIESD). Project collaborators include Louisville Metro-Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh; Mr. Greg Heitzman, LWC/MSD; Mr. Daren Thompson, MSD; and UL personnel: Mr. Daniel Carter, Dr. Deborah Yoder-Himes, Ms. Ellen Briscoe, Mr. Jake Robertson; and Mr. Russell A. Barnett and Dr. David Wicks, KIESD. The pilot water treatment plant consists of filters, which uses sunlight for disinfection and naturally available materials in filters. Disinfection of water by exposing it to sunlight is an age old concept. Historically containers with water were left in sunlight for hours to make it potable. Though it was a religious practice in those days. It started attracting researchers from early 80s to develop sustainable water disinfection concepts for under developed communities. Most of the research studies developed systems which involves both thermal and optical inactivation of bacteria. Researchers are working on increasing the robustness of the systems by adopting different reflective surfaces and shapes of the reflectors. Water depth, suspended solids in water are the major factors which impact the penetration of sunlight. Reduction of suspended solids can be achieved either by sedimentation or filtration. Filters comprised of naturally available material can make the system more sustainable and less expensive. This project tests the optical disinfection capacity of sunlight. For this an open channel flow of water was adopted. Four filters were installed to reduce the amount of suspended particles entering into the solar disinfection system (SODIS). This pilot study was conducted using polluted urban stream water at 4 different water flow rates. It is observed that reduction in flow rates resulted in increased disinfection rates. And filters also contributed in reducing the bacterial concentration. SODIS is successful in achieving the minimum 30-day average E. coli concentrations in water accessed for recreation.