Riverbank filtration in Cairo, Egypt—part I: installation of a new riverbank filtration site and first monitoring results

  • K. Ghodeif
  • S. Paufler
  • T. Grischek
  • R. Wahaab
  • E. Souaya
  • M. Bakr
  • A. Abogabal
Thematic Issue
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. NovCare - Novel Methods for Subsurface Characterization and Monitoring: From Theory to Practice


To cope with the increasing water demand in Cairo, the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater drilled 6 pumping wells to assess the applicability of riverbank filtration (RBF) for the waterworks in Embaba. Results from well drilling and subsequent monitoring of water levels and water quality were used to assess site conditions. Hydrogeology and surface water quality are typical for RBF sites. The aquifer is more than 60 m thick and has a hydraulic conductivity of 6 × 10−4 m/s. The Nile River is cutting through the upper clay cap that covers the aquifer and is hydraulically connected with the aquifer. Piezometric heads indicate a natural recharge of the aquifer by river water. Thus, the site seems to have high potential for water production. Water quality of the Nile River is feasible for natural treatment via RBF, TOC is < 5.5 mg/l, and NH4+ is < 0.5 mg/l. Major challenges in Embaba arise from frequent riverbed clogging in front of the site as well as the appearance of Fe, Mn and NH4+ in the produced bank filtrate with values slightly exceeding the Egyptian drinking water standards. Disinfection with chlorine oxidizes the dissolved Fe and Mn, causing undesired coloring of the treated bank filtrate. As there is no treatment step for Fe/Mn removal yet, pumping of the RBF wells was frequently stopped. The redox conditions at the site required further detailed investigations with emphasize on NH4+ and Mn to find out if concentrations could be managed without additional treatment.


Riverbank filtration Hydrogeology Nile River Egypt Water quality 



This paper was supported by the German Egyptian Research Fund (GERF), the Egyptian Science and Technology Fund (STDF project 3160) and the German International Bureau (IB) of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF, project EGY 10/052). The authors acknowledge the support of the Giza Company for Water and Waste Water.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Ghodeif
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. Paufler
    • 3
  • T. Grischek
    • 3
  • R. Wahaab
    • 2
  • E. Souaya
    • 4
  • M. Bakr
    • 2
  • A. Abogabal
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeologySuez Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  2. 2.Holding Company for Water and WastewaterCairoEgypt
  3. 3.Dresden University of Applied SciencesDresdenGermany
  4. 4.Department of ChemistryAin Shams UniversityCairoEgypt

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