Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Water SA]]> vol. 40 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Modelling the change in the oxidation coefficient during the aerobic degradation of phenol by acclimated activated sludge</b>]]> In this work the aerobic degradation of phenol by acclimated activated sludge was studied. Results demonstrate that while the phenol removal rate by acclimated activated sludge follows the Monod model, the oxygen uptake rate obeys a Haldane-type equation. The phenol oxidation coefficient obtained at different intial phenol concentrations ranged from 1.9 to 2.6 mol O2 · mol-1 phenol. A mathematical model based on a simplified version of the catalytic mechanism of the enzyme phenol 2-monooxygenase was developed to predict transient phenol concentrations and oxygen requirements by phenol-acclimated activated sludge in batch reactors under different initial phenol concentrations. The proposed model not only adequately represents the experimental results of the present paper, but also those reported by other authors. Particular cases of the proposed model are discussed. <![CDATA[<b>Characteristics of a bioflocculant produced by a consortium of <i>Cobetia</i> and <i>Bacillus</i> species and its application in the treatment of wastewaters</b>]]> The characteristics of a bioflocculant produced by a consortium of 2 bacteria belonging to the genera Cobetia and Bacillus was investigated. The extracellular bioflocculant was composed of 66% uronic acid and 31% protein and showed an optimum flocculation (90% flocculating activity) of kaolin suspension at a dosage of 0.8 mg/mℓ, pH of 8, and with Ca2+ as a coagulant aid. The bioflocculant is thermally stable, with a high residual flocculoccating activity of 86.7%, 89.3% and 87% after heating at 50ºC, 80ºC and 100ºC, respectively, for 25 min. FTIR analysis of the bioflulant indicated the presence of hydroxyl, amino, carbonyl and carboxyl functional groups. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) revealed a crystal-linear sponge-like bioflocculant structure and EDX analysis of purified bioflocculant indicated an elemental composition in mass proportions of C:N:O:S:P of 6.67:6.23:37.55:0.38:4.42 (% w/w). The produced bioflocculant was highly efficient in removing turbidity and reducing chemical oxygen demand (COD) in brewery wastewater, dairy wastewater and river water. The bioflocculant could flocculate kaolin clay more efficiently than traditional flocculants; alum and polyethylenimine. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of smallholder irrigation on household welfare</b>: <b>The case of Tugela Ferry irrigation scheme in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa</b>]]> The potential of smallholder irrigated agriculture to enhance food security and alleviate rural poverty has led the South African Government to prioritise and invest significantly in irrigation establishment, rehabilitation and revitalisation. The question addressed in this study pertains to the extent to which smallholder irrigation has been able to reduce poverty in the rural communities to justify this investment. Using a sample of 251 farmers, this study found that factors such as land size, perceived soil fertility, household size, and access to support services were significant predictors of irrigation participation. The results from the treatment effect model indicated that access to irrigation plays a positive role in the welfare of rural households, with irrigators spending about ZAR2 000 per adult equivalent on consumption more than the non-irrigators. The study, therefore, concluded that government investments in smallholder irrigation for poverty reduction are justified. The other factors that influenced household consumption were off-farm income, land size, livestock size, education level, family size and access to support services and infrastructure. The study recommends that investments in smallholder irrigation continue for poverty reduction, and that priority should also be on finding other feasible rural micro-projects and development initiatives to complement smallholder irrigation and significantly reduce rural poverty. <![CDATA[<b>Response of phytoplankton assemblages isolated for short periods of time in a hyper-eutrophic reservoir (Lake Chivero, Zimbabwe)</b>]]> The response of phytoplankton assemblages isolated in enclosures for short periods of time was examined in hypereutrophic Lake Chivero (Harare, Zimbabwe), to determine the factors that influenced the structure of the phytoplankton community, after noticing a marked decline in the dominance of Microcystis aeruginosa in recent years. The phytoplankton assemblage in the lake during summer, winter and the end of winter was dominated by Cryptomonas sp. and Cyclotella sp., with an average relative abundance of > 95%, based on phytoplankton biomass estimations. Isolation in summer resulted in the exclusion of Cyclotella sp., a decline of Cryptomonas sp. and an increase in M. aeruginosa and Anabaena sp. In winter, when M. aeruginosa was absent in the inoculum, isolation resulted in an increase in Cryptomonas sp. biomass and a decline of Cyclotella sp. At the end of winter Cryptomonas sp. initially increased but later declined following the increase in chlorophytes. The non-equilibrium state in Lake Chivero caused pioneer species to dominate rather than M. aeruginosa. <![CDATA[<b>Removal of pharmaceuticals in WWTP effluents by ozone and hydrogen peroxide</b>]]> Ozonation to achieve removal of pharmaceuticals from wastewater effluents, with pH values in the upper and lower regions of the typical range for Swedish wastewater, was investigated. The main aim was to study the effects of varying pH values (6.0 and 8.0), and if small additions of H2O2 prior to ozone treatment could improve the removal and lower the reaction time. The effluents studied differed in their chemical characteristics, particularly in terms of alkalinity (65.3-427 mg·ℓ-1 HCO3-), COD (18.2-41.8 mg·ℓ-1), DOC (6.9-12.5 mg·ℓ-1), ammonium content (0.02-3.6 mg·ℓ-1) and specific UV absorbance (1.78-2.76 £-mg-1-m-1). As expected, lower ozone decomposition rates were observed in the effluents at pH 6.0 compared to pH 8.0. When pH 8.0 effluents were ozonated, a higher degree of pharmaceutical removal occurred in the effluent with low specific UV absorbance. For pH 6.0 effluents, the removal of pharmaceuticals was most efficient in the effluent with the lowest organic content. The addition of H2O2 had no significant effect on the quantitative removal of pharmaceuticals but enhanced the ozone decomposition rate. Thus, H2O2 addition increased the reaction rate. In practice, this will mean that the reactor volume needed for the ozonation of wastewater effluents can be reduced. <![CDATA[<b>Fluorescent sensing and determination of mercury (II) ions in water</b>]]> The presence of heavy metals released from industrial activities into water streams is an ever-growing challenge to ensuring a safe and clean aquatic environment. Detection and determination of the levels of these heavy metals in wastewater is an important step before any measures can be taken. In this study we report on a fluorescent sensing probe based on a naphthyl azo dye modified dibenzo-18-crown-6-ether (DB18C6) for the detection and determination of mercury (II) ions in water. The probe showed high sensitivity and selectivity towards the mercury (II) ion among various alkali, alkaline earth, and transition metal ions. The mercury (II) ion quenched the fluorescence of the probe. Stern-Volmer quenching constants (Ksv) were found to be highest for Hg2+ ion at 1.18 x 10(5) M-1 compared to 3.85 x 10(4) M-1 for copper (II) ion. The stoichiometry of the sensor-metal ion interaction was found to be 1:1 for both metal ions using Job plots. The detection limit for Hg2+ was 1.25 x 10-8 M. The dye modified crown ether was then used to detect mercury in a water sample from a coalfired power plant and to determine the amount of mercury in the water sample. <![CDATA[<b>Geographical differences in the relationship between total dissolved solids and electrical conductivity in South African rivers</b>]]> Electrical conductivity (EC) is a useful surrogate for total dissolved solids (TDS). EC is more rapidly and easily measurable with reasonably-priced equipment. However, as an indirect measure EC is subject to uncertainties that are not always apparent to the user. We set out to investigate the relationship between TDS and EC in 144 643 sample results available on the Department of Water Affairs water quality database. TDS is calculated as the sum of the major solutes determined by laboratory analysis and EC is a measurement in a flow cell. The median TDS:EC ratio for 332 high priority sites was 7 mg/ℓ: 1 mS/m. Regional differences ranged from 4.8 to 8.6. Investigation of 38 of these sites using Maucha diagrams suggested that the differences are related to the dominant major ions, with sodium chloride waters having a lower TDS:EC conversion factor than calcium bicarbonate waters. The practical application of these findings is that users of EC meters should not simply apply a blanket conversion factor, but need to select an applicable factor for the river system in which they are measuring. <![CDATA[<b>Measurement of faecal sludge in-situ shear strength and density</b>]]> The provision of affordable urban sanitation presents a unique set of challenges as the lack of space and resources to construct new latrines makes it necessary to empty existing pits, typically done manually with significant health risks. Various mechanised technologies have been developed to facilitate pit emptying, which are currently either tested on faecal sludge or an 'ad-hoc' simulant that (in the opinion of the tester) approximately replicates the behaviour of faecal sludge. This ranges from a watery consistency in some pour-flush latrines to the strong soil found in many alternating pits, making it difficult to evaluate the effect of changes to a design, or to compare the performance of different pit-emptying technologies produced by different organisations in different countries. This study developed the portable penetrometer, a man-portable device to physically characterise pit latrine sludge through in-situ measurement of its shear strength. The machine produces continuous profiles of shear strength with depth and is capable of testing to approximately 2.5 m below the slab. The portable penetrometer was manufactured and tested in the UK, before profiling approximately 30 pits in Kampala, Uganda. The resulting data are compared to the literature on the physical properties of faecal sludge, and are found to significantly extend the measured strength range with a maximum value approximately 5 times higher than previously reported. The effect of physical remoulding is identified through comparison of data from undisturbed and remoulded strength tests and highlights the potential to increase the 'pumpability' of faecal sludge through in-pit fluidisation. The implications for the development of pit-emptying technologies and synthetic sludge simulants are discussed, and potential further work is identified. These include studies on factors affecting pit function and fill-up rates as well as scientific tests on the effect of modifications to latrines. In both cases any change in the physical properties of the faecal sludge can be identified through repeated profiling using the portable penetrometer. It is hoped that the penetrometer can contribute to an improved understanding of the physical properties of faecal sludge and the factors affecting pit function, supporting the development of improved faecal sludge management services. <![CDATA[<b>Who wants to be an agent? A framework to analyse water politics and governance</b>]]> The purpose of this paper is to introduce a framework to analyse water politics and governance. The framework has been constructed from a social constructivist perspective. This theory places attention on the role of normative aspects like ideology, values, interests and culture in politics. This means that a theory of international relations such as neorealism, neoliberalism or structuralism would be appropriate but limiting for the analysis of water politics, in terms of the range of actors, processes and issues focused on. The framework's niche lies in that it focuses attention on non-state actors. This carries the potential to widen the understanding of the role and involvement of such actors in water politics and governance. The framework has five components: description of the geographic area or issue; the actors involved in water politics and governance; the (hydropolitical) history of the issue; the actors' power to enable change; and the type of interaction between the actors. In order to illustrate the components, examples from South and Southern Africa, and specifically the Kunene, Limpopo, Okavango and Orange River basins are used <![CDATA[<b>Water for firefighting in five South African towns</b>]]> Alternative methods of firefighting and new firefighting technologies could reduce the reliance on potable water supplied via the water distribution system (WDS) for firefighting. Water required for firefighting in 5 towns in proximity to Stellenbosch, South Africa, was evaluated. The key objective of this research project was to investigate the extent to which the WDS was used for fighting fires. The fire flow requirements, specified in South African guidelines, as well as some international standards, were also reviewed. Information from fire departments in 3 municipal areas was analysed to determine the fire type category, the method for extinguishing the fire, and the water requirement to extinguish the fire. Only 8.6% of all fires were extinguished using water from the WDS by connecting firefighting equipment to a fire hydrant at the time of the fire. Most fires were extinguished by means of water ejected from a pre-filled tanker vehicle disconnected from the WDS at the time of fighting the fire. In most cases water was drawn from the WDS at a predetermined location and time, and then transported by tanker vehicle to the demand point upon receiving an emergency call. This research underlines the need for a hitherto unpublished and more realistic firefighting code for South Africa as it pertains to the WDS <![CDATA[<b>Spatio-temporal attributes of water temperature and macroinvertebrate assemblages in the headwaters of the Bushmans River, southern Drakensberg</b>]]> Currently, there is little understanding of the controls that instream thermal limits and hydraulic biotype diversity have on macroinvertebrate assemblages, particularly in association with changing altitude within given southern African mountain drainage systems. Thus, the aim of this research was to examine aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblage changes in response to spatial and temporal geo-hydrological contexts (temperature and hydraulic biotype) along the upper Bushmans River, southern Drakensberg. Instream temperature was continuously logged at 3 altitudes (1 760, 2 030, 2 280 m amsl) along the Bushmans River to the east of the Great Escarpment, and in the headwaters of the Sani River (2 860 m amsl) to the west of the escarpment, for the period January-May 2007. Aquatic macroinvertebrates were sampled during early December 2006, late March 2007, and late May 2007. The study demonstrates that decreasing water temperatures, both spatially (with increasing altitude) and seasonally (from summer to winter), and/or decreasing diversity of hydraulic biotypes associated with stream-channel narrowing in Drakensberg rivers/streams, are associated with a general decrease in the absolute number of macroinvertebrate families, a lower dissimilarity coefficient along the Bushmans River altitudinal transect, and a decreasing variance in the numbers of macroinvertebrate families across various hydraulic biotypes <![CDATA[<b>The potential for a fish ladder to mitigate against the loss of marine-estuarine-freshwater connectivity in a subtropical coastal lake</b>]]> Increasing water demand in coastal regions has resulted in the construction of weirs and barrages in coastal freshwaters. These form barriers to migrations of estuarine and euryhaline marine fishes and crustaceans. This study assessed the impact of loss of marine-estuarine-freshwater connectivity caused by a weir at the outlet of Lake Mzingazi, a coastal lake on the subtropical east coast of South Africa. Facultative catadromous estuarine and euryhaline marine fishes were most affected by the weir, which blocked their upstream migration. These fishes were absent in the lake and were prevented from accessing potential nursery habitat. Crustaceans were less affected by the outlet weir. Salinity tolerances of most penaeid prawn species occurring in southern African estuaries prevent penetration into freshwater reaches of connected systems. Movements of palaemonid prawns which either spawn in or have larvae dependant on estuarine water, and the marine spawning brachyuran Varuna litterata, were not completely impeded by the weir. These species have larvae and juveniles that can climb over the weir in its present form. Historically, the lake served as an estuarine nursery and its physico-chemistry and habitats still offer viable and valuable habitat to estuarine species. There is therefore great potential value in installing a fish ladder at the lake outlet that can be used by juvenile fishes and crustaceans. Re-establishing marine-estuarine-freshwater connectivity here will reinstate a natural migration route that has been impeded for over 70 years and partially restore the ecosystem to its original state <![CDATA[<b>A choice experiment application to estimate willingness to pay for controlling excessive recreational fishing demand at the Sundays River Estuary, South Africa</b>]]> The Sundays River Estuary, situated in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, has excessive recreational demand for estuarine services, specifically recreational fishing. The estuary has been over-fished, putting its sustainability at risk. Various management interventions may be required in order to save it, but how is this to be done without reducing welfare? The main aim of this paper is twofold: first, to assess and comprehend the economic value of the estuarine resources at stake; and, second, to propose policy measures to redress the situation (excessive demand, specifically recreational fishing). An application of a choice experiment reveals that the physical size of fish stocks is a very important predictor of recreational choice at the Sundays River Estuary, and it is recommended that demand be curtailed through an increase in the boat license fee for using the estuary of ZAR174 per annum <![CDATA[<b>The adsorptive removal of a cationic drug from aqueous solution using poly (methacrylic acid) hydrogels</b>]]> This study describes adsorptive removal of the antibiotic drug ciprofloxacin hydrochloride from simulated water using poly(methacrylic acid) (PMAA) as adsorbent. The adsorbent was characterised by various instrumental techniques such as X-ray diffraction (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy. The adsorption equilibrium data, as studied at 3 temperatures, namely, 15, 25 and 37°C, were best interpreted by the Langmuir adsorption isotherm model. Moreover, an increase in temperature reduces drug uptake. A pH of the adsorption system in the range of 5.0 to 8.0 causes maximum adsorption of the drug. The presence of drug molecules in the adsorbent particles was shown by various techniques: X-ray diffraction (XRD), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis. Antibacterial studies also reveal the adsorption of the drug from solution. <![CDATA[<b>Rainfall pattern effects on crusting, infiltration and erodibility in some South African soils with various texture and mineralogy</b>]]> Rainfall characteristics affect crust formation, infiltration rate and erosion depending on intrinsic soil properties such as texture and mineralogy. The current study investigated the effects of rainfall pattern on crust strength, steady state infiltration rate (SSIR) and erosion in soils with various texture and minerals. Soil samples from the top 0.2 m layer were exposed to 60 mm.h-1 simulated rainfall. The rainfall was applied either as an 8-min single rainstorm (SR) or 4 x 2-min intermittent rainstorms (IR) separated by a 48 h drying period. Rainfall pattern significantly (p < 0.05) affected crust strength, SSIR and erosion. The IR resulted in higher crust strength and SSIR than SR. The effect of rainfall pattern on SSIR was mostly influenced by the primary minerals, namely, quartz. Therefore, the predicted shift from long duration to short duration rainstorms due to climate change is likely to enhance crust formation and soil loss in semi-arid areas such as the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. <![CDATA[<b>Lead and zinc removal with storage period in porous asphalt pavement</b>]]> Porous asphalt pavements have been used as an effective technique to overcome road runoff challenges, and to improve efficiency of rainwater utilisation in urban areas. Using porous asphalt pavements with reservoir storage and harvesting facilities is an important consideration for the future. This study monitored changes in water quality indicators, such as pH, conductivity, and concentrations of lead and zinc, for water stored in porous asphalt pavement models with basalt-, limestone- and 'basalt+limestone'-filled reservoir structures. The research discusses findings over a 696-h storage period following artificial rainfall. Total lead and zinc concentrations were remarkably reduced throughout the initial flush, showing, on average, reductions of 90% and 80.5%, respectively. This pattern was consistent throughout the storage period, producing average reductions in lead and zinc of 99.98% and 79%, respectively, over 696 h. Conductivity and pH levels increased in all pavement models after the 696-h storage. The results obtained confirmed the potential of using porous asphalt pavements with reservoir structures to remove heavy metals from road runoff. This can be applied to future research on the removal mechanisms of porous asphalt pavements in relation to heavy metals in road runoff. <![CDATA[<b>Chemical aspects of peracetic acid based wastewater disinfection</b>]]> Peracetic acid (PAA) has been studied for wastewater disinfection applications for some 30 years and has been shown to be an effective disinfectant against many indicator microbes, including bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. One of the key advantages compared to, e.g., chlorine is the lack of harmful disinfection by-products. In this paper a pilot-scale study of PAA-based disinfection is presented. Indicator microbes (E. coli, total coliforms and coliphage viruses) as well as chemical parameters (pH, oxidation-reduction potential (ORP), chemical and biochemical oxygen demand (COD and BOD), and residual PAA and hydrogen peroxide) were studied. The main aim of this investigation was to study how these selected chemical parameters change during PAA treatment. Based on the results, disinfection was efficient at C-t values of 15 to 30 (mg-min)/ℓ which equals to a PAA dose of 1.5 to 2 mg/ℓ and a contact time of 10 to 15 min. In this concentration area changes in pH, COD and BOD were negligible. However, hydrogen peroxide residues may interfere with COD measurements and apparent COD can be higher than the calculated theoretical oxygen demand (ThOD). Additionally PAA or hydrogen peroxide residues interfere with the BOD test resulting in BOD values that are too low. Residual PAA and ORP were found to correlate with remaining amounts of bacteria. <![CDATA[<b>Anaerobic ammonium oxidation in the old trickling filters at Daspoort Wastewater Treatment Works</b>]]> The century-old trickling filters at the Daspoort Wastewater Treatment Works in Pretoria (Gauteng, South Africa) are known for their remarkable removal of nitrogen from municipal wastewater. Our study was conducted to identify the microbiological processes responsible for this phenomenon and to establish whether anammox bacteria may be involved. An aerobic and anaerobic bench top reactor, both inoculated with biofilm-covered stones from one of the filters, were spiked with ammonia-nitrogen (NH4+-N) and nitrite-nitrogen (NO2--N). These reactors were subsequently monitored by conducting stoichiometric analyses of chemical oxygen demand (COD), NH4+-N, NO2--N, and nitrate-nitrogen (NO3--N). In the aerobic reactor, the COD concentration decreased over the 56 h batch reaction period and nitrification was revealed by a decrease in NH4+-N and NO2--N concentrations. However, the NO3--N concentration showed no notable decrease. In contrast, in the anaerobic reactor the concentrations of COD, NH.+-N, NO2 -N, NO3 -N, as well as total nitrogen decreased during the batch reaction period. The decrease of both the NH4+-N and NO2--N concentrations, the latter to zero under anaerobic conditions, suggested that, in addition to heterotrophic denitrification, anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) may also occur in the trickling filter biofilm. This was highlighted by the observation that ammonium removal in the anaerobic reactor stopped as soon as the nitrite concentration became zero. The ratio of nitrite:ammonium removal was 1.33 on average, which conforms to anammox behaviour. Gene sequence analysis was used to test for the possible presence of anammox bacteria in the trickling filter biofilm. Genomic DNA was extracted from trickling filter humus sludge and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to amplify taxonomically informative 16S rRNA gene sequences, using primers specific for selected anammox species. Subsequent sequence analysis, including using the online Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST), and constructing a phylogenic tree using a heuristic search strategy for Maximum Parsimony analysis, confirmed the presence of an anammox bacterium closely related to Candidatus 'Brocadia anammoxidans' and Candidatus 'Brocadia fulgida' on the biofilm-covered stones of the Daspoort trickling filters. <![CDATA[<b>Significance and determination of fraction of non-separable particles of impurities in water purification</b>]]> The method to determine the quantity of non-separable particles in water, together with the calculations for the determination of the conditions of centrifugation under which the quantity of the non-separable particles can be determined, are dealt with in this paper. It is shown that for the determination of the quantity of non-separable particles it is beneficial to replace sedimentation in a gravity field with sedimentation in a centrifugal field. Reduction in the quantity of non-separable particles is characterised by the degree of destabilisation δ, which is proportional to the efficiency of the purification process. The development of separable aggregates is characterised by the degree of aggregation αA which is proportional to the aggregation and separation efficiency of the system. The degree of destabilisation δ corresponds to the collision frequency factor α in the Smoluchowski equation for the perikinetic coagulation. The degree of aggregation αA corresponds to the collision frequency factor αo in the Smoluchowski equation for orthokinetic coagulation. <![CDATA[<b>Satellite-based annual evaporation estimates of invasive alien plant species and native vegetation in South Africa</b>]]> In this study we assessed the impact that invasive alien plant species (IAPs), and the clearing thereof by the Working for Water (WFW) programme, have on total evaporation (ET) and the availability of water resources in two highly-invaded provinces of South Africa. The Surface Energy Balance Algorithm for Land (SEBAL) model, using MODIS satellite imagery, was used to estimate the annual total ET at 250 m pixel resolution. ET was estimated for 3 climatically different years for the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. The average annual ET from areas under IAPs, native vegetation, exotic plantation forestry species and control (clearing) areas were compared. The ET of the 5 dominant IAPs (Acacia mearnsii, Acacia saligna, Eucalyptus spp., Hakea spp. and Pinus spp.) in the Western Cape province was 895 mm, which was significantly higher than the ET of most of the native vegetation (thicket 575 mm and fynbos 520 mm), but similar to the ET of dominant exotic plantation forestry species (805 mm). On average, the ET was reduced by 13% to 780 mm, following clearing. In KwaZulu-Natal Province, the ET of the 5 dominant IAPs (Acacia mearnsii, Chromoleana odorata, Eucalyptus spp., Lantana camara and Solanum mauritanium) was 875 mm, which was also higher than the ET of the native vegetation (thicket 755 mm, savanna 685 mm and grassland 640 mm). Following IAP control the ET was decreased by 6%, to 825 mm. This study has demonstrated that spatial ET data with GIS-information on land use can be used to assess the impact of IAPs, and clearing thereof, on water resources. We confirmed results from previous studies, which showed that ET from invaded areas exceeded that from native vegetation. The ET data needs further validation as validation appeared to be impossible. Our results are likely conservative since the majority of invaded areas considered in this analysis represent non-riparian areas. The impact of WFW control of densely-invaded riparian areas is likely more pronounced. We concluded that the clearing of IAPs by the WFW programme has a positive effect on the availability of water resources through a reduction in ET. <![CDATA[<b>A finite velocity simulation of sedimentation behaviour of flocculating particles - A real-time model evaluation</b>]]> A mechanistic velocity model is developed to simulate the behaviour of flocculating colloidal particles in turbid water. The current model is based on one-dimensional mass transport in the vertical direction as an integrated form of the model derived by Ramatsoma and Chirwa. The percentile removal model achieved more accurate simulation of physical experimental data than known models such as the Ozer's model and San's model. In this study, an integrated velocity form was used to estimate flocculent settling velocity of fine suspended particles under near quiescent conditions. Model closeness to experimental measurements was determined as a function of the sum of squares error (SSE) between model data and experimental data. The proposed velocity model offers a distinctive advantage over the interpolated-isopercentile based models which are prone to numerical errors during interpolation. The results contribute towards the ultimate goal of achieving full automation of the design of gravitational particle separation devices for water and wastewater treatment. <![CDATA[<b>The decomposition of estuarine macrophytes under different temperature regimes</b>]]> The Great Brak Estuary is a temporarily open/closed system situated along the warm temperate coast of the Western Cape, South Africa. The estuary is subject to a variety of anthropogenic impacts (e.g. freshwater abstraction and sewage discharge) that increases its susceptibility to prolonged periods of mouth closure, eutrophication, and ultimately the formation of macroalgal blooms. The aim of this study was to determine the decomposition characteristics of the most dominant submerged macrophyte and macroalgal species in the Great Brak Estuary. Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the effect of different temperature regimes on the rate of decomposition of 3 macrophyte species and the extent of inorganic nutrients released. The results demonstrated that anaerobic decomposition of Zostera capensis, Ruppia cirrhosa, and Cladophora glomerata resulted in high levels of inorganic nutrient release over the 28-day study period. Ammonium (NH4+) was the dominant form of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) released during the decomposition process for all three species. The low levels of total oxidised nitrogen (nitrate and nitrite) released during decomposition were attributed to the inhibition of nitrification by heterotrophic bacteria under anoxic conditions. The relative levels of dissolved inorganic phosphorus (DIP) released were lower than that observed for DIN, and peaked early on in the experimental period (ca. 7 days), thereafter stabilising or decreasing. The DIP levels were explained, in part, by the varying nutrient requirements and limitations of each species (e.g. nitrogen-limited). The release of inorganic nutrients was greatest at higher temperatures (i.e. 25°C and 30°C), due to the reduced bacterial activity experienced at lower temperatures (i.e. 15°C). Ultimately, estuarine health deteriorates during macroalgal blooms, and therefore it is important to implement mitigation measures, such as artificial mouth breaching and plant harvesting, in order to minimise or reverse the effects of eutrophication.