Harvested rainwater quality before and after treatment and distribution in residential systems

Taegyu Kim, Dennis Lye, Maura Donohue, Jatin H. Mistry, Stacy Pfaller, Stephen Vesper, Mary Jo Kirisits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Rainwater harvesting (RWH) is an alternative method of providing water for indoor domestic use, but the water quality after treatment and distribution at individual residences is not well documented. In this study, water quality parameters were measured at the cistern and indoor cold-water taps of six residential RWH systems that use various treatment processes. Potential human pathogens (Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, and Aspergillus Niger) were found frequently in cisterns and in treated rainwater delivered at the tap; Legionella pneumophila was not detected as frequently, but it persisted in a system after its first detection. The observed decreases in bacterial concentrations from the cistern to the tap after filtration/ ultraviolet (UV) treatment and distribution were less than expected; this suggests deficiencies in the effectiveness of the filtration/UV processes employed and/or degradation in water quality in the distribution system due to the absence of a disinfectant residual.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E571-E584
JournalJournal - American Water Works Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Water Works Association.


  • Aspergillus
  • Legionella
  • Mycobacterium
  • Rainwater harvesting


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